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UPDATE: Divers Find Vehicle, Investigation Continues

(KNOP)
Published: Mar. 10, 2016 at 4:08 PM CST
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A week after a man's body was recovered from a canal near Sutherland, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office says they have found 50-year-old Ronald Kubiak's car.

Kubiak was from Sutherland.

His body was discovered on March 9 in the Nebraska Public Power District's Gerald Gentleman's Station's screening mechanism facility south of Sutherland.

Deputies say they found tire tracks leading into the canal upstream from the body.

A dive team began searching last week for Kubiak's 1993 Chyrsler Concrode.

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission detected the vehicle with its sonar shortly after 3 pm Wednesday.

The car was located at 4:45 pm by a Lincoln County dive team member about eight miles upstream from where Kubiak's body was found.

"The autopsy results confirm what we have suspected so far. He died from drowning and he has injuries that are consistent with the vehicle accident so if we can find a vehicle we can start putting the puzzle together and come to a satisfactory conclusion in this case," said Lincoln County Sheriff Jerome Kramer.

The LCSO says finding the car is a final step in the investigation.

"We will continue to have our accident re-constructionist look at the car. They were out here today looking at the car and they will examine it some more tomorrow. As an investigative team we will meet with the county attorney's office and hopefully in the next day or so we will come up with some sort of conclusion as to what happened here," said Lincoln Sheriff Chief Deputy Roland Kramer.

Sheriff Jerome Kramer says his department could not have done it without the help from numerous volunteers including members of the Lincoln County Dive team and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

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Tuesday an autopsy was completed on Ronald Kubiak in Gibbon, NE.

LCSO says preliminary results indicate Mr. Kubiak died from asphyxiation due to drowning.

There were also injuries to Mr. Kubiak that were consistent with a motor vehicle accident.

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Nebraska Game and Parks and Lincoln County Dive Team will be searching the canal system west of Sutherland Inlet Camping area.

A watercraft equipped with Side Scan Sonar will be deployed in an attempt to locate Mr. Kubiak’s vehicle.

The vehicle is a red 1993 Chrysler Concorde having Nebraska License Plate: 15-Z720.

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The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office has been working on this case for six days now.

Monday they reached out to Nebraska Game and Parks for help, but even with their sonar technology, they still found nothing.

They searched the canal which is just north of Gerald Gentleman station for about three-quarters of a mile.

They have used divers, weighted lines, and now sonar technology but are unable to locate the car.

The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office says this car could give them answers about the death of Ronald Kubiak, so they are expanding their search further west.

Chief Deputy Roland Kramer of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said, "The results of that were we found no vehicle. So we have at least eliminated this portion of the canal."

Even though engineers think it's very unlikely Kubiak's body could have passed through the netted screening station, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office will continue their search on Wednesday; going six miles west on the canal.

On Tuesday a complete autopsy will be performed on Kubiak in Gibbon to examine his whole body which can hopefully lead investigators in the right direction.

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The search for the possible car of a man found dead in the Nebraska Public Power District canal near Sutherland continues.

The body of 50-year-old Ronald Kubiak was found Wednesday, and Saturday the search for his 1993 red Chrysler Concorde continued.

After the Lincoln County dive team searched part of the NPPD canal on Thursday and found nothing.

They came back out Saturday with weighted lines to sweep that portion of the canal again but also found nothing.

They started at a netted screening station about three-quarters of a mile out from the inlet gates to the plant, where the body was found.

The sheriff's office tells us that engineers are saying if there was a car, it should be in this area within the two screening stations the body was found in.

Officials doubt that the body could have passed through the nets at the further screening station but insist anything is possible.

Sgt. Larry Meyer, at the Lincoln County Sheriff's office said, "Well I'm really hopeful. These guys are good at what they do out here with the weights on the rope. Nothing snagged, nothing obvious. So the sonar hopefully can just affirm what they found or what they didn't find. But you know, you never know. Nothing is for sure and certain so we want to make sure that we double check, triple check everything we're doing."

The sheriff's office, county attorney and Game and Parks will meet Monday morning then move the operation out to the canal.

The Sutherland and the Lincoln County dive team will be working with Nebraska Game and Parks to to get a boat with Game and Parks' sonar into that same stretch of canal.

Sgt. Meyer says if the sonar boat doesn't reveal anything, they may move their efforts a little further west on the canal.

He also tells us the only connection between Kubiak and the plant is that Kubiak liked to fish a lot, so he could have been trying to find a place to fish.

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Members of the Lincoln County Dive Team scanned the canal for about 1/4 mile Thursday, but were unsuccessful.

Now the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office is expanding their search.

Lincoln County Sheriff's Office says says Ronald Kubiak was last seen by family members the first week in February, but there was credit card activity from Mr. Kubiak's account on February 14th.

Investigators did confirm that the credit card purchases were from Mr. Kubiak.

The Sheriff's Office says finding the vehicle is a key component in the investigation and that the suspected tire tracks into the canal are actually not tire tracks.

"After talking to an engineer about the tire tracks they say they are most likely cable tracks," says Investigator Charles Nichols. "They had an equipment failure close to the facility out there and they tied some cables to a pick up truck and took the large piece of metal that had fallen off out of the water."

But after speaking with NPPD officials, Investigators say the body couldn't have moved very far through the canal system.

"It's not probable that anything could've slipped through the screening process that would've allowed a deceased person or a body to get from point a to point b where he was finally discovered and recovered," says Nichols. "So we feel that we are still in the right area looking for a possible vehicle in the water we just haven't found it yet."

The dive team will continue their search on Saturday.

If the dive team is unsuccessful, the Nebraska Game and Parks will be assisting with their sonar boat.

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Authorities release identity of body found in the Sutherland Canal System.

Investigators of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office believe the deceased is fifty year old Sutherland resident Ronald W. Kubiak.

Mr. Kubiak is being scheduled for autopsy at Central Nebraska Cremation and Mortuary service in Gibbon, NE.

Lincoln County Dive Team started their search at 5:35 pm Thursday

to try to locate Mr. Kubiak’s vehicle.

The vehicle is believed to be a red 1993 Chrysler Concorde with a license plate number 15-Z-270.

The dive team scanned the canal for about 1/4 mile.

The area they are searching is about three quarters of a mile long from where the tire tracks were located to where the body was found.

Lincoln County Sheriff Jerome Kramer says Mr. Kubiak was last seen by family members the first week in February.

"Anything is possible. He could've been in the car and got out. We've seen that happen a number of times where people get out and they can't get to shore. Keep in mind this water four weeks ago was probably less than 37 degrees so it was very cold so a person is going to have trouble sustaining any amount of time in the water at that temperature. it's still less than 45 degrees," Kramer said.

At this point, foul play or suicide are not suspected.

Law enforcement says finding the vehicle is a key component in the investigation which is why they are asking for the public's help.

"They have fairly good visibility so it's doubtful that they overlooked the vehicle and we also have sonar equipment from Nebraska Game and Parks that we can get a hold of similar to what we used last year that does a horizontal sonar of the bottom of the canal. So we will be asking for their assistance as well," Kramer said.

The dive team will resume their search on Saturday.

If you have any information about the vehicle please call law enforcement.

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A body was found in the Nebraska Public Power District Canal near Sutherland on Wednesday afternoon, according to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.

An NPPD worker discovered the body at 2:15 p.m. in the canal that flows into the Gerald Gentleman Station outside of North Platte.

A dive team will head to the canal tomorrow, which is estimated at 17-20 feet deep.

The name of the person is expected to be released tomorrow, as well, and police are treating the situation as a death investigation.

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