A report of a naked man running on Coquina Beach at approximately 2 a.m. Sunday led to tragedy and what Bradenton Beach Police Sgt. Lenard Diaz called a “strange story.”
Diaz said it all started when cleaning personnel at a nearby business called police to report that a naked man asked them to call police because he thought he had been drugged.
“The guys responded and discovered a white male that said he was drugged, but wasn’t sure,” Diaz said. “EMS responded and told us that he was definitely on something. He was taken to the hospital, but said he had gone to the beach with someone else. We went back out but didn’t locate anyone.”
At about 7 a.m. that same morning, beach walkers discovered the body of Bradenton resident Samuel Collins Jr., 42, on the shore at Coquina Beach. The deceased was not the same man who police had responded to hours earlier, but Diaz confirmed that he was the man’s friend.
“He was face up, pretty close to the shoreline,” Diaz said. “There were no marks on him, but foam was coming out of his mouth and nose, which is consistent with either a drowning or an overdose. At this point, we are thinking that it may have been a combination of the two ... . We won’t know that, however, until we get the toxicology reports back.”
The victim’s friend told police that the two had met at Centerstone in Bradenton and they were living together. Collins’ body was found with only his underwear on, as if he had been swimming.
“We found both sets of clothes within 10 to15 yards of the body,” Diaz said. “The guys told me that the waves were pretty bad last night and Sam’s friend had some scrapes and bruises that would be consistent with being bounced around on the shells.”
Diaz said the victim’s friend doesn’t remember much after arriving at the beach.
“Sam asked his friend for a ride to the beach and all he remembers is waking up at the beach, being naked and finding the cleaning people to ask them to call 9-1-1,” Diaz said. “As of now, we aren’t suspecting foul play. It looks like a drowning, bad drugs or a combination of the two.”