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Body of VA patient found in bay

The body of a Sarasota man wearing pajamas was found floating in Boca Ciega Bay on Tuesday, Pinellas County sheriff's deputies say. Robert G. Sherer, 50, had been a patient at the nearby VA Medical Center at Bay Pines since Friday. There were no signs of trauma, and sheriff's spokeswoman Marianne Pasha said deputies were investigating his death as a suicide. The hospital's staff discovered Sherer missing from a medical ward shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday. A hospital police officer found the man's body about 10:45 a.m. in the bay, said Bay Pines spokesman Larry Christman. "It appears that he waded out into the water and drowned," Christman said. Sherer, an Army veteran, had been brought to the hospital Friday for mental observation. Christman said the staff detected an irregular heartbeat. He was treated in the intensive care unit for a short time, then placed in a medical ward. An autopsy was scheduled to determine the cause of death.

Officer recognized for efforts

LARGO _ Veteran Officer Bruce D. Motts was a finalist for the 1995 Florida Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award. A Largo officer for 23 years, Motts was recognized for his pioneering efforts in community policing in the city. He formed a merchants' association, helped establish "pocket parks" in the community policing area and was involved in obtaining federal loans for businesses. Motts is a member of the Metropolitan Planning Board and the Pedestrian Safety Board for Pinellas County.