The body of a drowned man was recovered from the Little Tennessee River in Franklin on Sunday.
Macon County 9-1-1 received a call from a bike rider on the Greenway at approximately 1:10 p.m. The caller initially had looked down at the river, and noticed a shoe in the water. After taking a closer look, the caller realized the shoe was worn by a body submerged under the water.
At approximately 2:30 p.m., rescue crews extracted the body of a male, later identified as Kenneth W. Kubit, 43, of Franklin.
Kubit's body was found between Arthur Drake Road and Wesley’s Park on the Greenway, submerged 3 to 4 feet under water, according to authorities. Jimmy Teem of Macon County Emergency Services recovered Kubit’s body, which was transported to Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva for an autopsy.
According to reports, Kubit had been texting his girlfriend the previous night from his cell phone. Authorities said on Monday that she was the last person to have contact with him. A ring reportedly belonging to Kubit's girlfriend was found in his pocket when he was removed from the river.
Preliminary autopsy results released on Monday attributed Kubit’s death to “accidental drowning.” Investigators with the Franklin Police Department stated there is no reason to suspect foul play and the department has ruled out suicide, based on the initial autopsy.
According to FPD Detective Mark Foster, the body of the deceased was likely in the river overnight. “Last time anybody had talked to him or heard from him was around 10:30 on Saturday night,” he said, adding that final results of the autopsy will be released in approximately one month’s time.