Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008
By Shelley Grieshop
Celina native found frozen
  A 51-year-old Celina native was found frozen in a ditch beneath his pickup truck on Sunday at a dumpsite not far from his home in Ohio City.
A cause of death of Richard R. "Jose" Berlanga is pending an autopsy. Officials believe he was dead for two days before his body - partly submerged in a frozen creek - was discovered beneath the 2004 Ford Ranger pickup truck by a passing motorist.
Berlanga, who has four siblings residing in Rockford, hadn't spoken to family members since Friday and failed to show up that night for his third-shift job at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., St. Marys.
The Van Wert County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate the death but say Berlanga likely died from injuries sustained in an auto accident, which took place east of Ball and Skinner roads. Berlanga's brother, Lupe Berlanga, who lived with him in Ohio City, told authorities he last spoke to his brother between 3 and 4 p.m. Friday.
Jose Berlanga, who reportedly switched diabetes medication recently, told his brother he intended to go to work that night.
A passer-by on his way to the dumpsite found the body after he spotted the truck's tailgate sticking out of the ditch. Berlanga's truck was nose-first in the ditch. His body was discovered face-up beneath the truck, however, the truck was not resting on the body. The lower portion of Berlanga's body was frozen in the water-filled ditch, officials stated.
A phone call to Van Wert County Coroner Dr. Scott Jarvis was not returned at press time.
Services for Berlanga, a U.S. Army veteran, will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Cowan & Son Funeral Home, Van Wert.
Additional online stories for this date
Print edition only stories for this date
• Relief is near from freeze
• Despite low supplies, food banks still serving
• Glitch in software causes billing error
• Upgrade comes zapped with high price estimation
• Motorcycle giveaway planned at 2008 Celina Lake Festival
• New board members sworn into positions
• Homan and Yoder dominate the paint in 12th straight win
• Flyers suffer loss on the road at Lehman
• Exercise can now be a snap
a_d
Monday Night
44°
Mostly Cloudy
19%
Tuesday
58°
Partly Sunny
10%
Tuesday Night
35°
Partly Cloudy
6%
Wednesday
59°
Mostly Sunny
Wednesday Night
46°
Mostly Clear
6%
Thursday
70°
Thunderstorms Likely
71%
Thursday Night
46°
Thunderstorms Likely
70%
Friday
54°
Chance Rain Showers
59%
Friday Night
33°
Rain Showers Likely
58%
Saturday
50°
Partly Sunny
11%
Saturday Night
35°
Partly Cloudy
11%
3 Day
Extended
a_da_d