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Fall from Tree Stand Claims Life of Buchanan Hunter

South Bend Tribune, IN

16 December 2003

BUCHANAN -- A Buchanan man who co-owned businesses in South Bend and Mishawaka, died of injuries suffered when he fell from a tree while hunting Saturday on his own property at Puddle Lake Preserve in Buchanan Township.

Puddle Lake Preserve is southeast of the intersection of Warren Woods and Boyle Lake Road in Buchanan Township.

James E. Sharpe, 48, of Elm Valley Road in Buchanan, died when he fell from a tree stand while hunting Saturday afternoon with a friend.

His friend, who was hunting with him, last had contact with him at 3:30 p.m. via two-way radios the two were using, according to the Berrien County Sheriff Department's police report, said Dr. Arthur Robertson, Berrien County assistant medical examiner.

But then his friend could not reach him for a while and went looking for him in the area he knew Sharpe was hunting on the opposite side of the lake.

His friend found Sharpe on the ground at 6:15 p.m. Saturday.

It was estimated that Sharpe fell 10 to 20 feet from the tree stand, Robertson said, and died at the scene.

Robertson ruled it was an "accidental death due to the fall," with trauma to multiple areas including the head.

"There was no evidence of a heart attack," Robertson said.

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