Body found in Bellingham’s Maritime Heritage Park; cause of death unknown

A man’s body was found in Whatcom Creek in Maritime Heritage Park just before 9 a.m. Friday morning, May 6, officials said.

The body is that of a white man, Whatcom County Medical Examiner Gary Goldfogel said in an email. Lt. Bob Vander Yacht, spokesman for Bellingham Police Department, said the man was in his 60s.

The cause of the man’s death won’t be determined until an autopsy is completed, Goldfogel said, adding that he has scheduled one for Monday morning. There were no obvious signs of foul play, Vander Yacht said.

The body was recovered from the creek by mid-morning Friday, Goldfogel said.

Wendy Olinger, a fisheries student with Bellingham Technical College, feeds fish at a nearby hatchery every morning. She said she was at the hatchery and learned of the body when a kayaker told her about it. The body was face down in shallow water and was visible from the pathway along the creek, she said.

Olinger said she called 911 at 8:55 a.m., and then stayed in the area to keep others from passing through.

“You could tell he’d been there for a long time,” she said. “My reaction was I wanted to help the guy.”

Officials were still working to notify next of kin of the man’s death, and would not release his name.

Kyle Mittan: 360-756-2803, @KyleMittan