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Man's death will be listed as accidental

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Jody Scroggins
Jody Scroggins

GREENFIELD — A man found dead in a creek bed off U.S. 40 10 days after he was reported missing died of heart failure, but tests also showed drugs were in his system at the time of his death, officials said.

Jody Scroggins, 56, of Greenfield, was under the influence of Oxycodone, a narcotic, and alcohol when he died, toxicology reports found. Scroggins’ death will be listed as accidental, Chief Deputy Coroner Rudy Nylund said.

An autopsy found that Scroggins, who lived near the area where he was found, also had blockage in his coronary arteries, which caused his heart to give out under the stress from the drugs and alcohol in his system.

“Now whether it was a full-blown heart attack or cardiac arrhythmia, he had very poor cardiovascular health,” Nylund said.

Authorities ruled out foul play shortly after Scroggins’ body was found but had hoped the autopsy and toxicology screens would provide more information about the man’s final moments.

Scroggins was reported missing in late June after a relative arrived to pick him up for a doctor’s appointment at his home in the Philly Estates mobile home park in the 3300 block of West U.S. 40, but he wasn’t there.

Scroggins’ mother had spoken to him the night before to confirm his appointment the following morning, but when his ride arrived, the door to Scroggins’ home was standing open, and Scroggins was nowhere to be found.

Scroggins suffered from several medical issues, and the case sparked a sizeable manhunt, with two teams of tracking dogs sniffing the area for clues over a period of several days.

Police said it was difficult to gather evidence in the area where Scroggins was found, in the 3100 block of West U.S. 40, because of recent rain.

Police had searched the area previously, but the water in a low-lying creek bed was two to three feet higher than when Scroggins was found, police said.

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