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Deputies ID man who drowned in canal

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — A 35-year-old man who deputies said fell into a canal and drowned last weekend, has been identified.

The man was identified as James Burke, of Vero Beach, Indian River County sheriff’s spokesman Maj. Eric Flowers said. An autopsy was expected to be performed Monday afternoon, Flowers said.

Flowers said no foul play was suspected, but noted Burke’s death is an active investigation.

Flowers said a witness called 911 about 11:30 p.m. Friday after seeing Burke fall into the South County Relief Canal in the 300 block of 27th Avenue Southwest. The water-filled canal is 15 feet deep, Flowers said.

Flowers said Burke couldn’t swim. A sheriff’s helicopter and fire rescue dive team searched the area, later recovering Burke’s body.

The canal, which has an elevated walkway, is located next to a dirt road and near a Caraf Oil gas station. It was unclear why Burke was near the canal.

Several people left tributes to Burke on his Facebook page. One Facebook user wrote “R.I.P. Pookie” and another user wrote “R.I.P. James Burke, fly high friend.”

Deputies continue to investigate the incident.

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