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Police release ID and more information in SUV drowning case in Schofield

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A gold Lincoln Navigator SUV with heavy front end damage is covered by a tarp, and being towed from the Eau Claire River in Schofield, by the Grand Avenue Bridge 6/17/14
A gold Lincoln Navigator SUV with heavy front end damage is covered by a tarp, and being towed from the Eau Claire River in Schofield, by the Grand Avenue Bridge 6/17/14

SCHOFIELD, Wis. (WSAU) -- We now have more information in the death of a Wausau man found in an SUV off the Grand Avenue Bridge in Schofield.

Police have officially identified the man as 27-year-old Matt Chaignot. Everest Metro Captain Clayton Schulz says their investigation is just starting. "The preliminary results from the autopsy do indicate that he died from drowning. We are looking at further evidence, possibly looking at pulling the computer unit, and doing a little bit of a timeline to see where he was leading up to the crash."

Schulz says police are still trying to lay out what exactly happened before the time Chaignot hit the water. "We know he had contact with a co-worker around 12:45 am. And from that point forward we're not sure." Schulz says they're working with Wausau police who say they've found evidence from a Tuesday morning hit and run that might come from the vehicle Chaignot was found in. "It's going to be difficult to match those parts up to our vehicle because there's extensive front end damage. We'll look at the parts we recovered from the water and what they have and see if we can match them together."

It originally took quite a while for teams to get the vehicle out of the water because of a discussion on how best to preserve the possible crime scene inside. Schulz says dive team members finally decided against floating the vehicle out of the water because of possibly damaging the crime scene. "There was some tree debris, some extensive damage with crinkled metal, and they were afraid that once that vehicle was floated, that one of those pillows could puncture and cause that vehicle to tilt or turn."

More information will be released when a full toxicology report comes back in around three weeks.

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