Spelunker found dead inside Wayne County cave

A Somerset man who enjoyed exploring caves was found dead Sunday inside a Wayne County cave.

Anthony Wayne “Doc” Erisman, 57, often spent time at a cabin that was within walking distance of the cave where his body was found, Wayne County Coroner Forrest Hicks said.

He said Erisman was an “experienced caver” whose friends last saw him Friday. He was reported missing Sunday morning, and those who knew him “had a feeling he might be in the cave,” Hicks said.

“He was not a stranger to this cave,” Hicks said.

Searchers found Erisman’s clothing, Hicks said, and as they searched further, his body was found about 200 feet from the cave’s entrance in “a small space in the floor.” He was pronounced dead about 9 p.m. Sunday.

Hicks said Erisman was not stuck or injured, and there was no evidence of foul play.

An autopsy is scheduled Tuesday in Frankfort, and Hicks said he hoped it would shed light on what might have happened to Erisman.

“There’s a lot of questions we’re trying to fill in the blanks with right now,” he said.

The interior of the cave was wet and muddy, and although Erisman went in with a light, he is thought to have lost it closer to the entrance, Hicks said.

The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office and rescue squads from Wayne and Pulaski counties helped with the search.