Forks man’s cause of death remains under investigation

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

FORKS — There have been no obvious clues in the death of Jason John “Jake” Simons, 30, authorities said, but police are looking into details surrounding his disappearance last month.

Simons’ body was found Saturday in the Bogachiel River after a fisherman at Leyendecker Park spotted the body across from the boat ramp near the river’s confluence with the Sol Duc and the Quillayute rivers about 6 miles east of LaPush.

The Forks Police Department is the lead agency in investigating the death of the Neah Bay maintenance employee and part-time fishing boat crew member.

As of Thursday, there was no certain evidence for how Simons died or how his body ended up in the river, Forks Police Chief Rick Bart said.

“We believe we know the cause of death,” Bart said, adding that he could not release that information until toxicology tests confirm preliminary results.

Bart said police are working to determine where Simons died and how his body ended up in the river.

Earlier reports said it was believed that the decomposed body had not been in the area where it was found for long.

Police have interviewed a number of Simons’ friends and relatives, and while there was a great deal of speculation, there is no evidence of any wrongdoing or foul play at this time, Bart said.

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office took part in the autopsy earlier this week.

There were no obvious signs of violence on Simons’ body, said Ron Cameron, sheriff’s chief criminal deputy, Thursday.

It could be several weeks before results from laboratory tests are returned and analyzed, Cameron said.

Modern forensics

Cameron said that even in cases where the body has decomposed, modern forensic techniques still can provide answers.

“They have pretty good mechanisms to detect what deep-tissue damage does,” he said.

Simons’ family reported him missing April 8, three days after he was last seen at his family home.

Simons’ stepfather, Karl Kitzmiller, said family members were not ready to comment on his death.

Simons enjoyed his family and the outdoors, according to a narrative he wrote on his MySpace account.

“I’ve got a big family, love to go mudding, fishing and camping,” Simons noted on the website.

His car was still at his home, and a police search of phone records found no activity on Simons’ cellphone after the time when he was last seen.

Drennan-Ford Funeral Home in Port Angeles is handling arrangements for Simons’ memorial, which has not yet been announced.

A digital guest memory book is available at www.drennanford.com.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 16. 2013 5:57PM
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