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Citizen tip, fingerprints helped identify body found in Weems Creek

A tip from the public helped state Natural Resources Police identify the body of a Hungarian man found dead in Weems Creek in Annapolis over the weekend.

The police on Wednesday identified the man as 40-year-old Zoltan Hamor, who was in the U.S. on a work visa and living on a boat in Weems Creek. His death was ruled an accidental drowning.

Investigators sought the public's help in identifying Hamor after he was found floating near the Weems Creek Bridge on Sunday. He was wearing swim trunks and a scuba mask and holding a lit flashlight when he was found.

The NRP received numerous tips about the man's possible identity in the days after the body was located, said police spokeswoman Candy Thomson.

Investigators worked their way through the area, checking out the tips, and ultimately matched the body's fingerprints with Hamor's U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement records, Thomson said.

"The public was key in this," Thomson said. "We knew if we kept asking people, somebody would come through."

Hamor was in the news in 2013 when he served as the engineer on an endurance athlete's continuous stage swim across the Atlantic Ocean.

Investigators believe Hamor was working on his boat just before his death, Thomson said.

The Weems Creek incident was the first this year in which a body couldn't be immediately identified, she said. It's more common for people to immediately realize that a person who has fallen off a boat, pier or personal watercraft is missing.

In other instances, like Hamor's, fingerprints are used, Thomson said.

The NRP will hold a news conference Thursday at Sandy Point State Park to discuss water safety. The conference follows a series of drownings and water-related close calls.

A 27-year-old man was found dead in the Patapsco River on Saturday afternoon.

Alvardo Ordonez, of Cheverly, was reported missing around 3:30 p.m. Friday, after he went swimming below Bloede's Dam in Patapsco Valley State Park, police said. His body was found at 1:15 p.m. Saturday.

Signs in English and Spanish tell people not to swim below the dam.

The four divers who searched for Ordonez had to be roped to the shore because of the powerful current, Thomson said.

The Fourth of July weekend also saw a near-drowning at Point Lookout State Park in Southern Maryland, Thomson said.

In Ocean City, a surfer and three beach patrol members had to be rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard.

On Monday, a suspected shoplifter drowned in a stormwater retention pond after fleeing security guards at Arundel Mills mall in Hanover.

In other recent incidents, a 57-year-old man drowned in an Odenton pool, and a child had to be rescued from the bottom of a pool at a camp in Crownsville.

In May, a 4-year-old drowned in Glen Burnie after wandering away from a birthday party.

The NRP have investigated nine deaths on Maryland waterways so far this year, Thomson said. Last year the agency investigated 19.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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