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Parkgoers discover body floating in lake at Fountain Valley’s Mile Square Park

Sheriff's and OC Parks' personnel on Friday survey North Lake at Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley, where a body was found.
Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Orange County Parks’ ranger personnel Friday survey a site where a body was found floating face down in North Lake at Fountain Valley’s Mile Square Park.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department cordoned off a section of Fountain Valley’s Mile Square Regional Park Friday, after parkgoers discovered a body floating face down in a lake on the north end of the property, officials reported.

Spokesman Sgt. Todd Hylton confirmed an OC Parks’ ranger received a call at around 10:45 a.m. from some visitors who were reportedly recreating on the park’s North Lake when they saw something in the water.

“From what I understand the [reporting parties] were in a swan boat,” Hylton said Friday afternoon from the scene, where members of the department’s Homicide Detail had taped off the shoreline and closed the area to visitors.

Swan boats on North Lake at Fountain Valley's Mile Square Regional Park on Friday, July 23.
Swan boats on North Lake at Fountain Valley’s Mile Square Regional Park on Friday, July 23. A sheriff’s spokesman said parkgoers were boating on the lake when they discovered a body floating face down in the water.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Hours after the initial discovery, units were still awaiting the arrival of the Orange County coroner, so details about the body were scarce. But Hylton confirmed the individual was floating face down, its bottom half submerged under the lake.

Deputies on scene had not confirmed the gender of the decedent although, based on its size, it is believed to be an adult, Hylton said. The portion of the body visible above the surface of the water appears to be clothed, he added.

“At this point, it’s too premature to determine any cause of death,” he added.

The incident is being investigated as a potential homicide until the coroner’s office can rule out foul play and determine a cause of death.

The body of an unidentified adult was found in North Lake at Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley Friday, July 23.
Orange County Sheriff’s Department personnel closed down North Lake in Fountain Valley’s Mile Square Regional Park Friday, after parkgoers found a body floating in the water.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

“We have a pretty extensive crime scene around the lake,” Hylton said Friday. “We’re going to look at the entire shoreline of the lake as we investigate. At this point, we’re asking people to avoid North Lake until we have completed here.”

The sergeant indicated officials would notify the public via social media when the investigation had concluded and the lake was reopened.

Meanwhile, other areas within the 600-acre, county-owned park remained open to visitors Friday afternoon. Given the relative popularity and extensive use of the park, Hylton said, that a death could have occurred in such a public space seems uncommon.

“This is a safe area, so to have something occur like this is very out of the ordinary,” he said.

Friday’s incident marks the second body to have been discovered in Fountain Valley this week. A deceased 26-year-old woman from Long Beach, who’d apparently been involved in a traffic collision Monday evening at Slater Avenue and Tradewinds Street, was found to have sustained a gunshot wound.

Monday’s incident is being investigated as a homicide by Fountain Valley police.

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