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Two area men found dead in cistern

  • Updated

PUNXSUTAWNEY (AP) — State police and the coroner are trying to figure out how two men wound up dead in a cistern in a central Pennsylvania.

The Jefferson County Coroner’s office confirmed the identities of the men as G. Sherwin Farmery, 61, and Dr. John Smelko, 67.

Trooper Jamie Levier of the Punxsutawney-based state police says autopsies were also ongoing to explain what, so far, appears to be a pair of accidental deaths.

The autopsies are scheduled for this afternoon and are expected to be completed by this evening, according to Deputy Coroner Kim Shaffer-Snyder.

A cistern is an underground tank that can be used to store water.

Sources say the cistern is located on Mohney Road in the woods of Perry Township, which is west of Punxsutawney. The bodies were found about 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Authorities aren’t saying who owned the cistern or whether either man had a connection to it.

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