Police investigating after 28-year-old man’s body found in Rankin Lake in Gastonia

GASTONIA, N.C. — Gastonia Police said they’re conducting a death investigation after 28-year-old man’s body was found in Rankin Lake in Gastonia Friday morning.

Emily Mareno and her 4-year-old son told Channel 9 that she saw a body in the lake near a bridge while on a morning jog, and called 911.

“I had to take a double-take. I was like, there’s no way,” she said.

Authorities identified the man as Deontre Lashard Dameron. Police said the medical examiner will determine how he died.

Mareno said her son in a stroller also saw the body.

“I just told him someone fell asleep in the water and I wanted to make sure they are OK.” she said.

Officers said they have no current reports of missing people, and are asking if anyone has seen a suspicious person or strange activity in the area recently to call police.

They would not say if there were signs that Dameron was killed, but that they are investigating as if it could be a criminal investigation.

“Because if it turns out not to be, it’s easier to back off than if it turns out the other way and it turns criminal. Then you may have lost some potential evidence,” said Rick Goodale with Gastonia Police.

Police shut down the park for several hours while officers investigated, but it has since reopened.

Moreno’s thoughts went to the family.

“I’m a mom. I come from a big family. I can’t image what they are going to be going through,” she said.

No other details have been released. Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.

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