Santa Ana College baseball player's autopsy is inconclusive
The mystery surrounding the death of a Santa Ana College baseball player may not be solved for a number of weeks, after an autopsy today failed to determine a specific cause of death, authorities said.
The heavily-wooded creek was flooded from rainstorms several days earlier. Wernke was last seen Saturday in the 3000 block of Sunnywood Drive in Fullerton, walking his girlfriend's yellow Labrador retriever, according to friends and family members.
"There's no obvious cause of death," said John McDonald, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department and coroner's office.
He said investigators would have to await the results of a preliminary toxicology report, which will take several weeks to complete.
If a substance is found in Wernke's system that could have contributed to his death, McDonald said, then a full toxicology report would have to be conducted.
Family members have said that perhaps Wernke slipped and fell into the creek.
The water was about 8-feet deep at the time, McDonald said.
Wernke was a pitcher on the team and was working toward a full athletic scholarship to Cal State Long Beach, friends said.
--Robert J. Lopez
Photo: James Patrick Wernke. Credit: KTLA.