The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

September 26, 2013

Body found near U.S. 79 bridge identified

PALESTINE — Law enforcement officials have released the identity of a deceased male discovered underneath a bridge last week on U.S. 79 as a transient with ties to the Neches area.

The body of Joseph Lee Richard, 57, was discovered by a mowing crew from the Texas Department of Transportation at about noon on Sept. 17 beneath a bridge on the Neches River.

Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor reports no signs of foul play in the case.

“The preliminary autopsy report reveals that the man’s injuries were consistent with a fall,” he said. “There is no evidence of violence as the cause of his death.”

Taylor reported that Richard lived a nomadic lifestyle and that he had family in the Neches area.

Investigators in the case said the body looked like it may have been under the bridge for “a few days.”

Anderson County Justice of the Peace James Todd told media officials that the mowers spotted the body “before hitting it with the mower.”

The Department of Public Safety and Texas Rangers are assisting in the investigation.

Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at

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