Florida Keys News
Saturday, March 1, 2014
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Police: No signs of struggle in drowning

A detective assigned to investigate the death of a man who drowned in the pond in front of the Key West police station early Saturday morning reported no signs of a struggle on the body, or the cab driver who reported the incident.

Detective Scott Standerwick wrote in his incident report released Thursday that the preliminary inspection of James Edward Hardin V "showed the hands were free of any obvious signs of trauma that would indicate the victim was in a fight or struggle prior to him entering the water."

Standerwick added, "There were two small cuts located on the victim's left palm -- one by his pinkie finger and one by the base of his thumb. These wounds appeared to be old wounds due to the scabs and callus surrounding them."

Standerwick also inspected Five Sixes Taxi driver Ernie Edge, who saw Hardin fall backward into the pond about 3 a.m.

"I inspected witness Edge and he had no signs of scratches or cuts on his hands that would indicate he was in a struggle or fight," the detective wrote. "His clothing, as well, showed no signs of rips or tearing."

Edge's statements to the detective collaborate what Edge told The Citizen on Monday regarding what occurred shortly after Hardin fell in the pond.

"Witness Edge jumped out of his cab and checked on the victim ,who was above water at that time, according to witness Edge. Witness Edge told the victim to hold on and that he was going to get help."

Hardin, 24, of 2663 N. Roosevelt Blvd., was later pronounced dead at 3:35 a.m. at Lower Keys Medical Center after police and paramedics attempted to revive him via CPR.

Hardin was a native of Visalia, Calif., and a computer support specialist. He worked as director of operations at One Call Construction, 1901 Flagler Ave., for the last year and half. He also ran his own computer support company called J. Tech Company Service.

Prior to working at One Call Construction, Hardin was a longtime manager at McDonald's.

alinhardt@keysnews.com

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