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Panhandle banker's body found in river

The body of Panhandle banker C. Bowers Sandusky was found Sunday morning in the Apalachicola River about two miles south of Interstate 10.

Sandusky was reported missing three weeks ago.

The cause of death was drowning, according to Dr. William Sybers, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy in Panama City. "There were no signs of trauma, no gunshot or stab wounds," he said.

"There is no evidence of any foul play," said Nancy Stone, spokeswoman of the Calhoun County Sheriff's Department. "We believe he slipped and fell into the river and drowned."

The body was found by a Calhoun County police officer who was part of a search team dragging the river. The body was fully clothed, and a billfold was found in a pocket.

Sybers placed the time of death at about three weeks ago.

Sandusky, 57, was president of the C&L Bank of Blountstown, a town of 4,000 located between Tallahassee and Panama City. The bank was examined by state regulators soon after Sandusky disappeared, and everything was found to be in order.

The bank ran an ad last week in the local newspaper expressing its concern for Sandusky's well-being but affirming that the bank was in good condition.

Sandusky was reported missing Jan. 26, after failing to return home from a Sunday drive. He was last seen in Greensboro, and his car was later found parked and locked about 30 miles from Blountstown near I-10 and the Apalachicola River bridge.

An accidental drowning seems likely, said Tom Adams of the Adams Funeral Home in Blountstown, who called himself a close friend of Sandusky.

"Bowers was a very clumsy person and did not swim well, but he loved the water," said Adams. "He was known to have high-blood pressure. We speculate that probably he blacked out, or something of that nature, and fell in."

Adams said the Apalachicola River near I-10 is deep and swift.

Sandusky lived in Blountstown for 20 years. He formerly was president of the Ellis Bank before it was merged into NCNB. He also served as an officer of the local Salvation Army and was a past president of Blountstown's chamber of commerce. He is survived by a wife and two children.

"The town is in total shock, but there is some relief they did find him after searching for three weeks," said Adams.

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