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Police awaiting autopsy for man found in lake

LAWRENCEVILLE - Officials still are trying to determine the cause of death of a man found in Lake Lanier, the second Gwinnett County resident found in the lake in one week.

Harold Stephen Ankerich, a 49-year-old man from Buford, was found Tuesday in 25 feet of water near his boat at Holiday Marina. He was reported missing early Tuesday morning by neighboring boaters.

An autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday, but Hall County Coroner Marion Mereck did not return calls before press time. Sheriff's Office spokesman Capt. Jeff Strickland said authorities did not suspect foul play but were waiting on the autopsy's results to confirm the cause of death.

Ankerich was last seen Monday about

4 p.m., Strickland said. After a daylong search, divers located his body about 5:20 p.m.

If Ankerich's death is ruled a drowning, it will be the fourth at Lake Lanier this year, Strickland said. The last incident involved a Gwinnett County man named Jimmy Adkins and occurred June 2.

Adkins, 62, was found dead inside of his four-door Lexus on McEver Road South of Lights Ferry Road. The car was submerged in 10 feet of water and was about 15 feet from the bank, according to police.

Authorities believe Adkins had a pre-existing medical condition that caused him to pass out at the wheel of his car. They do not believe Adkins was aware of the condition.