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A 70-year-old Washington County man was found dead from unknown causes in a mine shaft Thursday, the Washington County Sheriff's Office reported Friday.

Roy Dale Merrill, of Washington, had spoken with family at about 12:38 p.m. Thursday, telling them he was near a mine shaft south of the Washington Dam Road looking for silver or gold, according to a sheriff's press release.

At 5:18 p.m. the victim's wife tried to contact her husband via cell phone, but was unsuccessful. About an hour later, the woman contacted a family friend, who took her to the mine location, which is in the Warner Valley area, southeast of Washington City.

They found Merrill unresponsive and immediately called 911 and began CPR, according to the press release.

Responding to the 7:15 p.m. call, Washington County Sheriff's Office and Hurricane Fire Department went to the scene, where they pronounced the victim dead.

Detectives are working with the Utah Medical Examiner's Office to determine an official cause of death, the press release said.

Merrill — who was found about 100 feet inside the mine shaft — was reported to have been using a water pump to remove standing water from the bottom of the mine.