Coroner: Body in Columbia River was slain Seattle man

EPHRATA, Wash. - Nearly a year after a body was discovered floating in the Columbia River in Central Washington, it has been identified as that of a missing 75-year-old Seattle man who was killed with a blow to the head.

Grant County officials say the body was discovered the evening of Aug. 25, 2012, by a boater who was heading down the river about a mile south of the Interstate 90 bridge near Vantage.

The Grant County Coroner's Office took custody of the body. With the assistance of Seattle police, the body was eventually identified through dental records as that of Toshio Ota, 75, of Seattle.

The cause of death was a blunt force injury to the head, and the death is classified as a homicide, the Coroner's Office said.

There was no immediate word on whether there any suspects in Ota's death or why it took so long to identify him.

Puget Sound Crimestoppers says Ota went missing more than two years ago, in March 2011, with no explanation for his disappearance.