Police identify Tuesday's gorge fatality as 60-year-old Pennsylvania man

May 14, 2015 by Mark H. Anbinder

The Ithaca Police Department says the man who died after jumping into the Fall Creek gorge on Tuesday afternoon has beeen identified. The man, 60-year-old William Ruoff, was in town visiting relatives.

At about 12:28pm on Tuesday, Ruoff "jumped from a ledge near a bridge in the 800 block of Stewart Avenue," IPD spokesman Jamie Williamson says, after "an Ithaca police officer and two Cornell University employees" observed him standing near the ledge. Police and other responders searched the area's waterways, and the man's body was located at about 5:08pm on Tuesday, near the south end of Stewart Park. "The body was retrieved from the water and sent to a regional hospital to assist in positively identifying the person," Williamson said, in a statement.

Police say Ruoff, from Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, had no connection with either Cornell University or Ithaca College, though a William Ruoff living in Conshohocken was a Cornell alumnus, according to LinkedIn. He was identified via forensic dental examination.

"Means restriction" netting similar to this is installed on several bridges over the area's gorges. 14850 file photo."Means restriction" netting similar to this is installed on several bridges over the area's gorges. 14850 file photo.Investigators say the Stewart Avenue bridge, which has "means restriction" netting installed, was not involved in or otherwise associated with the incident. Ruoff jumped from a ledge along the northwest side of the gorge, "approximately 500 feet west of the intersection of Stewart Avenue and Fall Creek Drive," according to a police statement.

Witnesses say the creek's waters were high due to recent heavy rains. "The swift-moving currents carried the subject downstream and over the Ithaca Falls," Williamson says.

The free and confidential Suicide Prevention and Crisis Service crisisline is available at 607-272-1616 or ithacacrisis.org.

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