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Police and fire


Baseball coach dies after being found in Monroeville pond


A longtime baseball coach has died after he was discovered floating in a Monroeville pond Saturday evening, according to Indiana conservation officers.

A man found Russell K. Johnston, 86, in the pond behind a home at 209 Water St. and called 911 shortly after 5:30 p.m.

Emergency workers pulled Johnston from the pond, performed CPR on him and took him to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, conservation officers said.

Johnston, of Monroeville, died just before 7 p.m. at the hospital, according to an obituary.

Conservation officer Darren Reed declined to comment on how Johnston died or whether foul play is suspected. He said investigators are awaiting the results of an autopsy.

Why Johnston was at the pond and how he ended up in the water were questions conservation officers could not answer.

The landowner told The Journal Gazette that her son was the man who found Johnston in the pond after noticing his truck parked nearby.

According to an obituary, Johnston was born in Lima, Ohio and served in the Army during World War II.

Starting in the 1950s, he coached Little League baseball in Monroeville. And for much of his life, he was self-employed as a carpenter.

Johnston is survived by two daughters, a son, 12 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Helen J. Wagner, a sister and a half-brother.

His funeral service is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Zwick & Jahn Funeral Home in Monroeville, with burial at the Monroeville Memorial Cemetery.

Visitations at the funeral home are set for 2 to 4 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and the hour before the service.