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Preliminary autopsy on missing energy exec suggests drowning

Police said they recovered the body of executive Douglas Schantz, 54, around noon Tuesday.
Police said they recovered the body of executive Douglas Schantz, 54, around noon Tuesday.
  • Body of Douglas Schantz, 54, was found Tuesday
  • Body found four days after Schantz disappeared
  • Schantz was president of Houston, Texas-based Sequent Energy Management

(CNN) -- A preliminary autopsy on the body of an energy executive pulled from the Mississippi River in New Orleans, Louisiana, this week revealed a head laceration and evidence of drowning, investigators said Thursday.

The body was found Tuesday, four days after Douglas Schantz, president of Houston, Texas-based Sequent Energy Management, disappeared.

A toxicology report, due back in roughly three weeks, will show "how much Schantz had to drink before falling into the Mississippi" last week, said John Gagliano, lead investigator at the New Orleans coroner's office.

Authorities recovered Schantz's body around noon Tuesday, said police spokesman Gary Flot.

Police said Schantz was found with all his personal belongings, including his wallet, credit cards, identification and jewelry.

Schantz, 54, was last seen outside a Bourbon Street bar at 2:06 a.m. Friday, New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren Riley told reporters Tuesday morning. No one had heard from him since then.

At the Tuesday morning news conference, Riley said detectives reviewed video from "almost every" business in the busy French Quarter. Several cameras captured a "disoriented" Schantz walking alone from a bar toward the Mississippi River, Riley said. Schantz had been drinking, Riley said, and was headed toward a boat at the wharf.

"The last video of Mr. Schantz is when he was near the boat Natchez, walking on a 2- to 3-foot-wide walkway near the river," Riley said. "From 2:40 until 6:40 a.m. video was watched and ... once he [Schantz] walked out of that frame near the Natchez, he never returned on any frames of the video."

Riley said that according to the video, no one approached Schantz during the walk.

Texas Equusearch, a search-and-rescue team, searched the waters with sonar equipment, and the Coast Guard and Harbor Police had also joined the search, according to Riley.

Family and friends said they knew something was wrong Friday morning when Schantz didn't show up at the airport, missed a company meeting, and didn't return calls. Such behavior, they said, was uncharacteristic of him.

"There's never been a time he was out of reach," said Pete Tumminello, vice president of Sequent Energy, on Monday. "I've worked with him for seven years. There's never been a time he's been out of reach."

Schantz missed a flight Friday morning with his daughter, a Tulane University senior, police said. He also did not show up for an office meeting in Houston.

Schantz went to the French Quarter with friends on Thursday night, Sequent Energy spokesman Alan Chapple told CNN on Tuesday. They went there after an earlier event at Tulane University to present a $25,000 donation to the Tulane Energy Institute, Chapple said. Schantz and his colleagues had dinner with professors and students at the school, and later he and some others went to the bar.

Schantz was staying at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, only about two blocks from the bar that he was seen leaving, Chapple said. Members of the party had left the establishment at varying times, he said.

During their investigation, police had not discovered any evidence of a crime, Flot said Tuesday morning. The FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and private investigators were also working the case, Riley said.

Schantz's son, Michael, described Monday the agony his family was feeling as they awaited news.

"My family is distraught, I'm distraught, [in] shock," he said. "We just want him found alive and back with our family."

CNN's Carolina Sanchez and Khadijah Rentas contributed to this report.