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White Oak kayaker's cause of death listed as accidental

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Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, 2:11 a.m.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's office said on Monday that James G. Leffard, 58, of White Oak drowned in the Youghiogheny River.

A forensic investigator said the manner of Leffard's death on Friday night was accidental.

North Huntingdon Township police said Leffard, 58, was an avid kayaker whose boat was found unoccupied with his cellphone and his identification on the Yough near Coulter in South Versailles Township.

“A boater from White Oak found the kayak overturned in the water, as well as three life vests and some personal property,” White Oak police Chief Lou Bender said.

Bender said the boater tried to return Leffard's belongings to his home but found no one there and called police.

Meanwhile, North Huntingdon police said, Leffard's vehicle was found in Turner Valley, just over the township line from Coulter.

Police said a search began on Friday at 8:34 p.m. and continued on Saturday and Sunday with the help of dogs, river rescue boats and utility task vehicles.

Leffard's body was found on Sunday around 4 p.m.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or

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