Houston Oil Executive Drowned in Mississippi River After Fall, Coroner Says

The New Orleans coroner says a Houston energy executive drowned in the Mississippi River, and apparently hit his forehead as he fell from a steamboat dock.

Dr. Frank Minyard said Wednesday that the autopsy of 54-year-old Douglas Schantz found a lesion on his forehead as well as evidence of drowning.

Minyard says he expects results of blood tests in two to three weeks, showing how much Schantz drank before leaving a Bourbon Street bar about 2 a.m. Friday.

From the bar, he wandered over to the Steamboat Natchez dock, climbed over a guard rail and fell from a slender ledge while walking toward the gangplank.

Employees of the energy company are rallying around the executive's family, MyFoxHouston.com reported.

His body was discovered just before noon Tuesday by volunteers from Texas Equusearch, a Houston-based organization led by Tim Miller. Equusearch volunteers found Schantz's body in the river, near the French Quarter.

Schantz, a top executive of a Houston energy company, was last seen leaving a bar on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Security cameras recorded him a short time later walking through the French Quarter.

New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren Riley said Schantz, who left the Razzoo Bar and Patio about 2 a.m. Friday, was seen on security video walking on a 2-foot walkway by the river.

The video evidence led police to no longer suspect foul play, saying it was "likely" Schantz fell into the river and accidentally drowned, prior to the coroner's report. Riley said Schantz appeared disoriented and added that he had been drinking.

Shantz had a tremendous reputation in Houston as a business executive and philanthropist at heart. He was the president of Sequent Energy Management, L.P.

Online, people from around the world have been offering words of hope and prayers for a miracle. Hundreds joined the Facebook group, "Have you seen Doug Schantz?"

One person wrote Schantz was an "exceptional executive, a good friend and a wonderful person."

When news came a body had been found, his sister wrote, "We are praying it's not him."

An hour later, Susanne Schantz posted:

"It is with a broken heart that I have to tell you our wonderful Doug is dead. He drowned in the Mississippi River. Our love for him is endless, we were lucky to have him in our lives. Thank you for all your love and support."

Family and friends have refused to speculate about what might have happened to Schantz, but his oldest son pointed out earlier his father was taking several medications.

"He does have high cholesterol and high blood pressure that he's on medicine for. He had a cough and a cold, and from what I understand he might have been on antihistamine and antibiotic," said Michael Schantz.

His strange death is in contrast to the way he lived his life as a family man and passionate leader. The Sequent Energy offices released a statement praising the response and amount of resources dedicated to the search. Schantz leaves behind a wife and three adult children.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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