POSTED: Monday, March 4, 2013 - 10:03am
UPDATED: Monday, March 4, 2013 - 4:15pm
SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, TX (NEWS CENTER 23) — Thursday the Cameron County Sheriff's Department says attorney Ray Marchan fell to his death after jumping off the causeway into the Laguna Madre.
This is the same day that Marchan was supposed turn himself in law enforcement to begin his 42-month sentence in federal prison.
Last June Marchan was found guilty of racketeering linked to the Abel Limas corruption scandal.
Taxi driver Lorenzo Hernandez says he picked up Marchan at his home Thursday morning just after 3am.
Hernandez says Marchan asked to take him to the Sea Ranch South Padre Island.
Hernandez says Marchan got in the taxi. While they were at the top of the causeway Marchan asked him to pull over to vomit because he wasn't feeling well.
Hernandez pulled over and then Marchan got then got of the taxi.
“He jumped on to the rail, stood up, looked at the horizon and then drove into the water.” said Hernandez.
Shortly after he jumped law enforcement was called in to search for the body with helicopters,boats, and a dive team.
Just after pm the body recovered near the five fingers area in Port Isabel.
Justice of the Peace Juan Mendoza junior was called out the scene to pronounce the body.
“The body was positively identified by finger prints, the family, and Texas drivers license." Said Mendoza
Justice of the Peace Benny Ochoa from Port Isabel knew Ray Marchan and his family for more than 50 years.
"We are going to miss him it was a big shock to the whole community." said Marchan.
Ochoa says he spoke with Marchan 12 days ago and he said Marchan seemed normal.
"He was a great person, outstanding person, brilliant attorney he always helped politicians and non-profit organizations."
Ochoa says before Marchan's death Marchan wrote two letters one to addressed to Ochoa and the other to the chief at the Cameron County Sheriff's Department.
Ochoa says he has not seen that letter yet.
An autopsy report released Friday shows Marchan's cause of death was blunt force trauma and drowning.