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Cause of death is investigated

Three law enforcement agencies are working to determine how a 25-year-old Augusta man whose body was found in McDuffie County last Sunday afternoon died.

McDuffie County Sheriff's Department Investigator Larry Adaway identified the victim as Antonio Edward Battle, who had lived with his mother on Pine Avenue in Warrenton. Mr. Battle most recently had been living with his girlfriend in Augusta, authorities say.

An autopsy to determine the cause of Mr. Battle's death was performed Monday at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab near Atlanta, according to McDuffie County Coroner Rhusha Mack. Results still were pending as of press time.

Coroner Mack said there were no visible markings on the victim's body and that he was found lying in a creek bed less than 30 feet from the shoulder of Cedar Rock Road shortly after noon Sunday.

"There is no evidence at this time to indicate how he met his death," Investigator Adaway told The McDuffie Mirror on Sunday night.

Sheriff Logan Marshall said Monday that further investigation will be conducted.

"A lot of things just don't make sense," Sheriff Marshall said.

Mr. Battle had been reported missing by family members shortly after 8 p.m. last Saturday night, Investigator Adaway said. Mr. Battle had gone to a party with some friends earlier that day and had not returned. A missing persons' report later was filed with Deputy Alan Baldwin.

Authorities combed a large area around Cedar Rock, Union Church and Three Points roads from about 9 p.m. until 4 a.m. Sunday looking for Battle.

About eight hours later, family members discovered some of Mr. Battle's jewelry near Childers Creek, which led authorities being called back to the scene. The victim's body later was found in the creek.

Authorities have interviewed several persons in connection with the death investigation, but still have more questions than answers.

"We don't know if it was an accident or what at this time," Investigator Adaway said.

He said his office is being assisted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Region 7 Office in Thomson and Georgia State Patrol post in Grovetown. GBI Special Agent Charles Kicklighter and Cpl. Chris Wright with the state patrol were involved in rendering assistance to local authorities last Sunday.

Anyone with information should contact the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department at 706-595-2040, GBI office at 706-595-2575 or Georgia State Patrol at 706-595-2622.

Web posted on Thursday, May 13, 2010

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