The autopsy of an Orcas Island man found off of a North Whidbey beach June 24 showed he died of saltwater drowning, according to Island County coroner Robert Bishop.
The man, David Fleischmann, 66, worked at the Madrona Bar and Grill restaurant on Orcas Island.
Bishop said Fleischmann was at his work around noon on Tuesday, June 23 on Orcas, and did not show up for his scheduled work shift at 4 p.m. that day.
He was seen eating dinner at a different restaurant on the island later on Tuesday.
Bishop reviewed ferry surveillance footage after police found Fleischmann’s car at the Orcas Island ferry dock. Bishop said he didn’t see any obvious signs of trauma.
Fleischmann was seen boarding the 10:30 p.m. ferry June 23, on a sailing from Orcas Island to Anacortes. He was seen multiple times on the footage, the last time at around 11:40 p.m. when he walked to the back of the ferry. He did not get off the ferry when it docked in Anacortes.
Wednesday, June 24 at around 3:37 p.m. Undersheriff Kelly Mauck said a citizen on the beach, which is near Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, saw the body floating in the surf Wednesday afternoon. The citizen pulled the body to shore, covered it and called 911.
Fleischmann lived alone on Orcas and his only family is out of state.
Joanna Massey, circulation manager for the Journal and the Sounder, worked with Fleischmann for a year at Madrona Bar and Grill.
“He had a great sense of humor. He had a sarcastic wit that would deliver a better comeback than you could deliver,” said Massey. “He was tough but sweet, calling the girls he worked with ‘darling.’”
Jessie Stensland, Whidbey News-Times co-editor and Cali Bagby contributed to this story.