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     The Sheriff’s Office is investigating a death on Lake Norfork that was reported earlier this morning. At approximately 6:32 AM, the Sheriff’s Office was notified that a man’s body had been found floating in the water near Point 6B on Lake Norfork.  He was said to be clinging to a life jacket.  The caller came across the body after leaving from a private dock in the area to go out fishing.

     Sheriff’s Deputies and Emergency Medical Personnel responded to the area by vehicle and by boat.  The floating body was located and recovered from the water at approximately 8:15 AM near Point 6B, which is in the area where Bennett’s River empties into the lake.  The decedent has been identified as 76 year old SAMUEL A. BALSANO, JR., who resides in the Gamaliel area of Baxter County.

     According to the decedent’s wife, MR. BALSANO had left his residence Thursday evening around 7:30 PM to go fishing.  His boat was stored at the Fout Boat Dock. MR. BALSANO was seen leaving the boat dock in his boat between 7:30 PM to 8:00 PM. MR. BALSANO was in a 1976 Hydrasport boat with an 85 hp Johnson outboard motor.  This boat has not been found as of this time.

     There was no sign of injury or trauma to the body. MR. BALSANO was said to have health issues.  The body is being sent to the Arkansas State Medical Examiner’s Office in Little Rock for autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death.  Officers are continuing to look for the boat, and the incident remains under investigation.

     Agencies assisting with the recovery and/or investigation are the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office, Arkansas Game and Fish, U. S. Army Corp of Engineers, Baxter County Coroner’s Office, and the Gamaliel-101 Fire Department.

/s/ John F. Montgomery,
Baxter County Sheriff