Family of Eugene man found in storm drain hunt for their own answers | News

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EUGENE, Ore. — While police have ruled it a tragic accident, the family of a man found dead in a storm drain on November 8 is still searching for answers.

The family identified him as 65-year-old George Serna Jr., who served several tours of duty in the United States Marine Corps before retiring.

Serna lived on Minda Drive, where he was found in the drain below his mailbox on November 8.

Body found in Eugene storm drain

On Wednesday, dozens of loved ones gathered around the area and held a candlelight vigil to honor him.

Lucien Guidotti lives directly across from the storm drain and said he was the one that called 911 when he discovered Serna in the drain.

“The body was completely submerged torso up in water,” Guidotti said.

Guidotti said on November 8, around 6:30 a.m., he went out to walk his dog. On his way home, he said a woman was pointing at the drain, telling him to come over.

“I saw legs coming out of the grate, right in front of the mailbox. His mailbox was open, and the mail was clipped in,” Guidotti said.

That’s when he called 911 and wondered how Serna could’ve ended up in the drain.

“One of the main officers comes over and tells me that he had probably went to get his mail, dropped something in the drain, and somehow lifted up the grate and couldn’t make it back out,” Guidotti said.

Guidotti said Serna never really came out of his house, but said he looked to be a frail older man.

“I could see how someone trying to lift that grate up and over would be very difficult. It all just seems weird, especially because he was so frail. Could he have lifted that? I’m not sure,” Guidotti said.

Eugene police told KEZI that they’ve worked closely with the Lane County Medical Examiner, and have concluded this was a tragic accident.

Storm drain.jpg

Serna’s son, Joseph, and daughter, Guadalupe, said the story doesn’t add up, and they’re on the hunt to find their own answers.

“Nothing makes sense. My dad was a great man, and whatever happened to him, he didn’t deserve to die like that,” Joseph said.

To make matters worse, they said they didn’t find out about their father’s death until 11 days later.

“I found out because my mother called us because she received a letter in the mail from social security sending their condolences,” Guadalupe said.

At the time of his death, Serna was living with his wife of one month, and she didn’t tell their family that he had died.

“I honestly believe that if we hadn’t gotten the letter, I would not know today that my Dad is gone. He literally has 20-plus family members in this community, and one person knew. One person knew and hid it from his entire family and had his body cremated before we could even see him,” Joseph said.

They said the wife won’t talk, and the only thing she mentioned when they ask what happened was that he died in a storm drain.

“So, we started doing research, and we found the KEZI article that a man had died in a storm drain, and then we started putting the pieces together that it was our father,” Joseph said.

Joseph said her story to the police was that every day, he gets up at 3 a.m. and goes for a walk, checks the mail, comes home, and goes out to get coffee.

“I can tell you, in my 37 years of being alive, I’ve never known my dad to get up that early. My dad stays up until two or three in the morning on FaceBook, goes to bed, and gets up between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Never does he immediately go outside; he goes to his coffee pot. If that man tried to pay for coffee at the store every day, he would be broke as he drinks about two pots a day. The routine she that she’s telling just doesn’t make sense.” Joseph said.

They said there had been many red flags along the way, and something feels off.

KEZI knocked on the wife’s door for an interview, but she didn’t answer.

“All we have is questions, and we just want answers. If there was something, we want to know,” Guadalupe said.

Family of Eugene man found in storm drain hunt for their own answers | News

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