Man’s death on Lake Mead deemed suicide
BY BILL BIRD email@example.com November 27, 2012 6:04PM
Updated: December 29, 2012 6:26AM
The death of a Naperville-area man who was found earlier this fall on the shores of Lake Mead has been ruled a suicide.
Kenneth S. Ritter, 54, lived in an unincorporated area of DuPage County near Naperville’s far northwest side. He was found dead just before 2 p.m. Oct. 4 near a kayak on the Arizona side of Lake Mead.
Mohave County, Ariz. Medical Examiner Rexene Worrell on Tuesday said toxicological testing showed Ritter died of “diphenhydramine intoxication,” with the manner of death being suicide. Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine typically used to treat allergies, the common cold and related ailments.
Worrell’s findings were formally returned last week. She added drowning was not a factor in Ritter’s death.
Ritter lived on Scots Drive, in the Scots Plains/Willowbend area. He has family in Arizona.
Agents of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Park Service on Tuesday continued their investigation into the case, said Christie Vanover, public affairs officer for the service’s Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Boulder City, Nev. She said that office as of Tuesday had not been notified of the medical examiner’s findings and rulings.
The recreation area’s interagency communication center in October received multiple reports of a man’s body on the shores of the lake, about 2 1/2 miles northeast of the Hoover Dam.
Ritter was found near an inflated, functioning kayak that had a floatation device on board. Rangers who were sent to the scene reported finding no obvious injuries on his body.
Lake Mead straddles the Arizona-Nevada border. Weather conditions that afternoon included clear skies, sporadic breezes and a temperature of around 90 degrees.
Ritter reportedly worked for a company based in Pingree Grove. A spokesman for the Lake Havasu City, Ariz. mortuary to which Ritter’s body was taken confirmed Tuesday no funeral services were held for him.