Death of man found in pond suspicious, police say

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 5 2013 5:11 p.m. MST

The Fairmont Park pond in Salt Lake City Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. A body was found in the pond Monday night.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Investigators were waiting Tuesday for an autopsy report to determine whether a man found in a park pond died as a result of a homicide.

The man was identified as James D. Panovich, 38, of Kansas.

Panovich's body was discovered about 9 p.m. Monday in the pond at Fairmont Park, near 1100 East and 2200 South. A second man, 35, was also found at the scene. He was wet and was taken to a local hospital to be treated for exposure, said Salt Lake Police Sgt. Shawn Josephson.

The case was being treated as suspicious Tuesday because of the circumstances, but Josephson said there was no clear indication whether it was a homicide.

"We have information of (Panovich) being here for less than a year," Josephson said.

Despite being in the Salt Lake area for such a short time, police were already aware of him. Utah state court records show seven entries for Panovich since July, including four violations since Dec. 10. Panovich's charges were all misdemeanors or infractions, including having an open container in public, trespassing and pedestrian violations. Most of the arrests were made by Salt Lake police with at least one by Sandy police.

Two park patrons who were going to feed the ducks spotted the second man sitting on the bank of the pond and called 911. The callers told police the man was acting strangely and was possibly intoxicated.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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