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WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2006
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Autopsy shows kayaker died of hypothermia

The state forensic lab confirmed Tuesday that a Speake kayaker found in the Tennessee River near the Nucor Steel plant Sunday died from hypothermia, said Marine Police Officer Larry Adams.

Michael Shane Biles, 38, a welder for Byrd Maintenance Services in Decatur, took his kayak to the river Thursday night, one of the coldest days of the year. When he didn't return home Friday, Lisa Owens, who had lived with Biles for eight years, reported him missing.

According to the National Weather Service in Huntsville, temperatures plummeted Thursday and Friday night to about 15 degrees.

Limestone County Sheriff's Department officers spotted his body Sunday at about 11 a.m. Morgan County Coroner Russ Beard said Biles was wearing a camouflage vest and warm clothing. Authorities found his kayak about 150 yards away.

Owens said Biles was an experienced kayaker who enjoyed going out at night to search for arrowheads.

- Kristen Bishop

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