Foul play not suspected in 2 deaths in Central Park waters

NEW YORK (AP) — The bodies of two men have been discovered over two days in Central Park, each floating in a lake, but investigators don’t believe either was the victim of a crime, police said Wednesday.

The first body, of a man thought to be in his 20s or 30s, was found Tuesday in the park’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, near Central Park West and 90th Street. It apparently had been there at least a month, said police Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce.

On Wednesday morning, a body of a man in his 30s, wearing pants and shoes but no shirt, and carrying identification, was found about 1½ miles south of the reservoir in Swan Lake, a pond frequented by tourists near The Plaza hotel.

It had been there about one to two weeks, Boyce said. Investigators were working to confirm the ID.

The medical examiner will determine the causes of death; neither body had obvious signs of trauma.

“We don’t believe there’s criminality in either of these cases right now,” he said.

The rare occurrences — a body was last found in Central Park waters in 2015 — brought negative attention to a normally tranquil oasis in the heart of the city.

Swan Lake, at the southeast corner of the park, is surrounded by pink and white azaleas, Japanese maples and other lush vegetation and is populated with all manner of birds. After Boyce’s press conference, a white egret was seen perching on a log at the edge of the lake.

A day earlier, the police activity centered on a similarly picturesque area near Central Park West and 90th Street.

The reservoir is about a half-mile long and up to 40 feet deep. It’s surrounded by a 4-foot-high ornamental fence and a popular track — the Parks Department says Onassis, former President Bill Clinton and the singer Madonna had all run there.

According to the park’s website, the reservoir was decommissioned in 1993. The city named the reservoir for the former first lady in 1994 after her death.

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