Body found inside Muncie wastewater treatment plant identified

MUNCIE, Ind. – Police in Muncie are investigating after workers found a man’s body inside the city’s wastewater treatment plant Monday.

Employees at the Muncie Sanitary District wastewater processing plant found the body on a conveyor used to filter out debris inside the plant. Those workers called police, who admit it’s a strange death investigation.

“It’s very unusual. I’ve never heard of anyone being brought up through the drain like that. It’s very unusual,” said Muncie police detective Justin Lee.

Although the treatment plant sits right next to the White River, police do not think the victim could have washed into the plant from the river.

Police say there are three storm drains in Muncie large enough to carry the body to the plant. Still, detective Lee says figuring out where the man actually died is still difficult.

“It’s hard to tell where he went in and how long he had been in there as of now,” said Lee. “Those lines are all drawn out through different locations of the city, so it’s hard to tell which way he came before getting to the final resting spot.”

So far police have not released the victim's identity, but they describe him as a middle aged man who had a distinctive tattoo of a dragon-like creature on his upper left arm.

Right now there are no signs the man had been the victim of violence, but the exact cause of death remains under investigation. On May 22, the victim was identified as Michael D. Coates, 41.

“As of right now there’s nothing indicating foul play, but it may be a possibility. We’re still actively investigating that,” said Lee.

Anyone with information on the case can still contact the Muncie Police Department at 765-747-4838.

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