Hall County Sheriff’s deputies are investigating a possible drowning off Oconee Circle in Gainesville.
Hall County Fire Rescue personnel found a man’s body around 2:30 p.m. Monday, June 6.
Officers had police tape blocking off what appeared to be a pond, which was down a steep hill.
The scene was then turned over to the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.
Lt. Greg Cochran said the man was identified as Jason Smith, 50. Cochran said the man had a Gainesville address, though his family is in Forsyth County.
Cochran said Smith’s body was being sent to the DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsy.
The Hall County Sheriff’s Office said Forsyth County authorities had contact with Smith before his death.
Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Stacie Miller said Smith was involuntarily committed on June 2 and transported by patrol officers to the Avita Behavioral Health Crisis Center in Gainesville.
Avita’s center is on Old Cornelia Highway a short distance from where Smith was found. The center has a 23-hour observation unit and a crisis stabilization unit.
Miller said Smith left the facility “without authority” that same evening, though she did not have further information on the case.
Avita CEO Cindy Levi said due to confidentiality guidelines she could neither “confirm nor deny whether an individual was or is receiving treatment at an Avita facility.”
Hall County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman B.J. Williams said Tuesday, June 7, that law enforcement did not have any estimate on how long Smith was there before his body was discovered.
“We hope the autopsy will be able to shed some light on that information,” Williams wrote in an email.
This article was originally posted by the Gainesville Times, a sister publication to Forsyth County News.