TREMONT, Maine — Investigators with the state medical examiner’s office have determined that a local couple whose bodies were found Tuesday in a submerged vehicle near the Seal Cove boat ramp died by drowning.
Inez Lawton, 86, and Lewis Lawton, 92, were found Tuesday morning in their Chevrolet Equinox, which was underwater in the cove off the Cape Road boat ramp and dock.
The manner of drowning, however, remains undetermined, according to an official at the medical examiner’s office. Though it seems likely that the Lawtons drowned where they were found, the lack of a decision on the manner of drowning means that there has not been an official determination on the specific circumstances that led to their deaths.
The Lawtons were found at about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday when marine workers heading out from the Seal Cove dock to move moorings saw the SUV underwater, about 30 yards out from the end of the float. They could see someone’s arm sticking out the driver’s side window and called police.
Officers with Maine Marine Patrol, including a diver, went to the boat ramp and determined two people were in the vehicle. At the request of police, the marine workers used their barge and crane to raise the vehicle off the bottom and pull it over to the ramp. The vehicle then was towed out of the water, and the Lawtons’ bodies were removed from the vehicle and taken to Augusta for autopsies.
Inez Lawton, whose maiden name was Lawson, has family living in Tremont. Attempts Wednesday to contact her relatives were unsuccessful.
Current and former local municipal officials said Wednesday that, to their knowledge, the Lawtons did not participate in town functions or have much contact with local organizations. No town officials contacted Wednesday said they ever had personal dealings with the Lawtons.
Maine Marine Patrol Specialist Colin MacDonald said Tuesday that, in addition to the autopsies, investigators also planned to inspect the vehicle to see if a mechanical defect may have caused the SUV to go into the water. An attempt to contact MacDonald on Wednesday to see if more information about the case was being released was unsuccessful.