From The Tribune staff reports
SPRINGVILLE — Police here are investigating the drowning death of a Pell City man, with initial indications leading authorities to believe the incident to be accidental, Springville Police Chief Wayne Walton said.
Daniel Ray Whatley, 47, was found dead Monday night at McDonald Lake. Whatley was found shortly before midnight on Monday and pronounced dead at the scene around 12:15 a.m. Tuesday according to St. Clair County Coroner Dennis Russell.
Walton said that the public had no cause for concern, and that Whatley’s death did not appear to be violent.
“At no time was anybody in danger of anything,” Walton said during a Wednesday afternoon phone interview. “No sign of any kind of struggle. None. This is just an unfortunate accident.”
Springville Police officers responded to the McDonald Lake area on Sunday after residents reported hearing cries for help from someone on the lake. At the time of that first response, SPD officers didn’t find anything.
A Monday call led to Springville officers and St. Clair County Sheriff’s deputies searching the area, where they found Whatley’s body.
He said his department received another call Monday to the same area. Walton said he, along with officers from his department and deputies from the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office, responded and ultimately found Whatley at the scene.
Whatley’s body will be autopsied by the Alabama Department of Forensics in Huntsville to determine his cause of death, Russell said.