Friends hoping for proper burial of veteran who drowned in Chattahoochee River in late May

Friends hoping for proper burial of veteran who drowned in Chattahoochee River in late May

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - It’s been nearly three weeks since 65-year-old Ronald Cyr died after his boat sank in the Chattahoochee River during Memorial Day weekend.

According to the Muscogee County Coroners Office, Cyr was former military for more than 20 years serving in Vietnam. Coroner Buddy Bryan says he still hasn’t been buried.

“As of today, that’s 17 days that’s gone by. State law mandates I have three days and then I can bury the person as a pauper. As an abandoned body,” says Bryan.

He says as former military, he’s been holding onto the body hoping Cyr can get the proper burial as someone who served the country.

"I was going to bury him Monday as a pauper in a cardboard box down at the Pauper Cemetery. And I have the right to do that," Bryan explains.

This comes after an extensive search for the family of Cyr led Bryan to a man named Joe, his only known brother in Idaho.

“He said I’ll be in town. A week went by, never heard from him. Called back, same story,” says Bryan.

That prompted Darryl Phillips, a friend of Cyr for more than 10 years, to try to get disposition of the body to give him a proper going home service.

"All I want to do is get him buried because he's a Vietnam vet and he deserves a military burial," says Phillips.

Bryan says if a person passes away and they can’t get in touch with a relative, they’re given three days before they’re legally able to do a pauper burial. Friends of Cyr says they’re hoping to give their friend a service to honor his service and his life. “That’s what Ron would’ve wanted,” says longtime friend Amber Greenhaw.

News Leader 9 placed a call to Cyr’s Brother in Idaho and he says that he will be flying into Columbus on Wednesday.

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