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Unusual drowning case sees man die in less than a foot of water

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Mo. - An unusual drowning is under investigation in Washington County, Missouri after a 29-year-old died on New Year's Day while clearing a beaver dam.

According to the sheriff's office, the drowning happened at a pond located down a private rural road near Bismark, Missouri. Residents said beaver dams are commonplace along bodies of water in the area.

Caleb James Bruno was apparently clearing a beaver dam for a friend when he slipped into the water and drowned in only eight inches of water.

His neighbors can’t believe it.

“It’s mysterious; like, it’s crazy,” said Mackenzie Hanff.

Bruno lived in a neighborhood in nearby Belgrade, Missouri.

“I’ve been shocked all day and yesterday evening I was shocked and today I’m shocked,” said resident Karen Goodson.

People who knew Caleb said he was a good man.

“I feel so sad. I will miss him. He was like a big brother almost,” Hanff said.

Taylor Gillam said Caleb was helpful to man people.

“He out here weed eating the grass for the neighbors and everything he was walking around taking care of everybody, even his dad,” he said.

There were no signs of injuries or trauma to the body. The coroner suspected Bruno may have suffered some sort of medical incident before falling into the water.

“He was so sweet, he was so loving, he was so kind, he would do anything for anybody,” Hanff said.

Friends said Bruno loved the outdoors including fishing and hunting. Authorities were awaiting medical test results before making a final determination of a cause of death.

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