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Search For Creek County Man Comes To Tragic End

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CREEK COUNTY, Oklahoma -

The four-day search for a missing Creek County man has come to a tragic ending. Search crews found the body of 19-year-old David Lane Howard Wednesday afternoon.

Now, investigators want to know how he died.

We're told Howard was hiking and swimming with friends before he disappeared, but details past that are limited. The Creek County sheriff said this is not the ending anyone hoped for. 

Kenneth Bussell and his family live about half a mile from Buck Eye Creek and they said they've never heard of any problems before.

"A lot of kids go down and swim and hang out. You go by there every evening, there's a car parked down there or kids going down there to swim,” he said.

There are more questions than answers right now in 19-year-old Lane Howard's death. 

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is handling the investigation, and agencies are waiting for an autopsy report to learn more about the cause of death. It investigating the death as a homicide until the medical examiner's report is complete.

8/3/2016 Related Story: Body Of Missing Creek County Man Found After Four-Day Search

Creek County Sheriff John Davis said, "It's too soon for us to know really a whole lot of anything. Once all the forensic examinations are done, hopefully, we'll have a lot more answers than questions."

According to OSBI, deputies found Howard's body by a power easement near 61st Street South and 481st. That's several miles from the Old Highway 51 bridge, where authorities say friends last saw Howard.

Davis said many different agencies came together to search, and it was grueling. He said it seemed like everything was working against them.

"The problem with the search, in general - one, was the heat, two, was the terrain. This was very wooded. A lot of underbrush, along with trying to navigate the creek area," he said.

Bussell said, "I haven't ever heard of anyone getting hurt down there. I haven't lived here all my life, I've lived in the area, but I've never heard of anyone getting hurt down there."

Several different agencies were on scene, including OSBI and the medical examiner's office. Members of Tulsa County Sheriff's Office tracking team discovered the body while assisting Creek County, according to TCSO.

No word on when the autopsy will be finished.

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