OCEAN CITY – Tragedy struck early yesterday morning when the body of a 71-year-old Ocean City man was discovered in an alley behind a condominium building near 77th Street.
Around 7:30 a.m. yesterday morning, an unidentified man staying in the Jada condominium on 77th Street discovered the deceased body of an elderly man in the alley behind the building while taking out the trash. Police and emergency crews arrived on the scene, but the victim, identified late yesterday as Richard Lawrence Cook, 71, a resident of the Caine Woods community in north Ocean City, had perished from an apparent fall from the third- or fourth-floor of the building.
According to resort police, it appears Cook fell from a stairwell on the side of the building that was open but protected with a railing. There was no evidence the railing on the stairway broke or gave out in any way. Little is known about the victim or why he was at the mid-town condominium building early yesterday morning, but he was not a resident of the building. An address for the deceased is listed as 143rd Street.
It is also uncertain just when Cook fell from the third- or fourth-floor stairwell, but the fall likely occurred shortly before the body was discovered in the alley behind the building. The area is densely populated, particularly in the summer, and there are numerous businesses in the area, so it appears likely someone would have likely discovered the body earlier if the apparent fall had occurred much earlier than when it was discovered.
The investigation is ongoing and nothing had been ruled out as of late yesterday, but police were treating the incident as an unfortunate accident.
“The detectives are investigating the incident, but there is no evidence of any foul play or anything like that at this point,” said OCPD Public Affairs Specialist Jessica King yesterday. “It looks like an unfortunate accident at this point, and we’re not certain if the victim was there doing some work on the building or not.”
According to King, the victim’s body was transported to the state Medical Examiner’s Office late yesterday for a complete autopsy, the results of which might not be known for several days. In the meantime, the investigation is ongoing.