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Body found at Willow Brook Creek identified

The county coroner's office has identified the dead body found at Willow Brook Creek on Sept. 12 as that of 60-year-old James Wood, a transient of Petaluma who had recently received assistance from the Committee on the Shelterless.

Wood's cause of death remains under investigation, though Petaluma Police say they don't suspect foul play.

COTS CEO Mike Johnson said Tuesday that Wood had spent almost six months at the COTS shelter, before transitioning into permanent housing in August. According to Johnson, Wood struggled with alcohol addiction in the past, but had been sober since January and was employed in August.

"But shortly after he got into permanent housing and left the support program we provide, he was unable to maintain his sobriety," said Johnson. "He left permanent housing after only two weeks. It's a really tragic situation because he was able to make some real progress, but unfortunately, his addiction caught up with him."

Wood is one of three dead bodies to turn up near Petaluma waterways over the past several months. The first body, a female who is still unidentified by the coroner's office due to advanced decomposition, was discovered on Sept. 21 near the McNear Peninsula. Authorities are still working to identify the woman using DNA. The other body was an apparent suicide later identified as 24-year-old Bram Stinson of Petaluma. Stinson's body was discovered hanging from the D Street Bridge on Sept. 18.


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