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Drowned man found in waters near causeway

By Staff | Jul 6, 2011

The state medical examiner’s office has ruled drowning as the cause of death of a man whose body was found Monday morning floating face down in the waters off of Punta Rassa, adjacent to the Sanibel Causeway.

Philip Bradley Schweers, 45, of the 11000 block of Blue Warbler Drive in Fort Myers, was found by a boater just after 11 a.m. on July 4.

Two Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission officers retrieved Schweers’ body from about 100 yards from the dock, according to a Lee County Sheriff’s Office report. He was officially pronounced dead at 11:47 a.m.

Schweers’ roommate, Larry “Cowboy” Ray Copeland, 40, approached deputies while they investigated the incident and said the man may be his roommate.

Copeland said Schweers frequently went to the area to fish and enjoy the view. He last saw Schweers about 6 p.m. on July 3 when Schweers left in his car to travel to Sarasota to visit family for the holiday.

“Copeland stated he became concerned today (July 4) when he could not reach Schweers on his cell phone,” according to the report. Copeland called deputies about 10 a.m. on July 4, but because there were no indications Schweers was missing or endangered, no report was made.

Copeland also said he’d forgotten it was a holiday and that he thought Schweers would call him on his way back to Fort Myers. Schweers’ car, a 2000 Buick, was found in the parking area of the boat ramp.

Copeland told deputies Schweers suffered from Parkinson’s Disease and was taking several medications, according to the report.

The manner of death and details of how Schweers ended up in the water remains under investigation.