WILLS CREEK -- A 78-year old Coshocton County man is believed to have drowned, along with suffering cardiac arrest and hypothermia, March 23, along a creek just south of the Wills Creek area community.

Don Stroup, assistant county coroner and chief investigator, determined the cause of death.

James V. NeSmith, 78, of 14786 Franklin Township Road 263B, was found unconscious, partially in Wills Creek, after the Coshocton County Sheriff's office received a 911 call from NeSmith's wife, Mildred, Tuesday morning.

Mildred NeSmith told a dispatcher that her husband had left the house about an hour earlier and when he didn't return, she began looking for him.

It is believed that James NeSmith walked to Wills Creek near his residence where he accidentally fell into the water head first, suffered a slight concussion and ended up in the water face down. It was not known how long NeSmith was in the water but when the first rescue personnel arrived on scene, he did not have a heartbeat and was not breathing.

Medical personnel from the Coshocton County Emergency Medical Services, as well as the Franklin-Conesville-Virginia Volunteer Fire Department assisted at the scene.

NeSmith was taken to Coshocton County Memorial Hospital at 11:31 a.m. and was pronounced dead at 12:10 p.m.

(Editor's note: The complete obituary for James V. NeSmith appears on page 4.)