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BODY OF SAILOR FOUND IN POND NEAR HIS HOME DIVERS MAKE RECOVERY FROM SUBMERGED AUTO

The body of a 19-year-old sailor who was home on leave for the Christmas holidays was found Sunday in his car, submerged in a farm pond within sight of his home on Goose Neck Road in Delevan, State Police at Olean reported.

Scott W. Beckwith, who recently returned from service in the Persian Gulf, was found by scuba divers in his "totally submerged vehicle" to end a search that began Christmas Day when he was reported missing by his family.

Beckwith was last seen about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 23, when he took a friend to his home in Sardinia.

State Police said they feared he had met with foul play after he failed to return to his home for Christmas or to return to his base at Little Creek, Va., Thursday.

Troopers, aided by a helicopter crew and a dog specially trained to find bodies in water, had been searching ponds and culverts between Sardinia in southern Erie County and Delevan in Cattaraugus until the car was discovered Sunday.

Rex McIntosh, a Cattaraugus County coroner, said the death appeared to have been the result of accidental drowning. He said an autopsy is scheduled today by the Erie County medical examiner.

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