UPDATE: Man drowns in Neches River
A preliminary autopsy report on drowning victim Richard Shultz, indicates that his death on July 4, was from drowning. The autopsy and investigation show no signs of foul play, and the case is still under investigation. Detectives are awaiting toxicology reports, which will not be available for several weeks.
Wednesday, July 4, Orange County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a possible drowning victim at the Neches River sandbar on Mansfield ferry Rd. in South Vidor. Upon arrival, deputies learned that a white, who was identified as 27 year old Richard Shultz, of Port Neches, had been found unresponsive in the river by one of his friends.
According to the witness, the victim and his friends had launched their boat at Port Neches Park and drove the boat to the sandbar, and anchored along with several other boats at the location.
Several witnesses said that Shultz had his pet boa constrictor with him and was walking around the sandbar showing the snake to the kids and allowing them to hold the snake and take pictures holding it. Shultz brought the snake back to the boat, which was anchored off the bank in four feet of water, then headed back to the sandbar.
About 30 minutes later, his friends on the boat went to look for him, as he had not returned to the boat, and they were ready to leave to attend a fireworks show. As one of the friends was walking back to the sandbar, he found the victim unresponsive in the water.
Several people came over and helped remove Shultz from the water, began CPR and called 911. The Vidor Fire Dept. and Acadian Ambulance arrived on scene and continued with life saving efforts, but were unsuccessful at saving the victim.
Orange County Justice of the Peace, Janice Menard with Pct. 3, pronounced Shultz dead at the scene, and ordered an inquest. The victim’s body was transported to the Jefferson County Morgue, where an autopsy will be performed.