Police Identify Pottstown Man Found in Car at Bottom of Schuylkill

Harold Leister, 93, went missing last Thursday morning after reportedly hitting his head the day before. Police say the investigation is ongoing.

Harold P. Leister

Harold P. Leister

Police recovered and identified the body of 93-year-old Harold Leister on Tuesday after his 2011 Buick Lucerne, with Leister inside, was pulled from the Schuylkill River at the boat ramp along S. Penn Street in Pottstown, the Lower Pottsgrove Township Police Department announced on Facebook.

“Unfortunately, the investigation confirmed the car contained the body of Harry Leister,” the post said. “As of this time, the matter is an ongoing investigation.”

Leister went missing from his home near Mervine Street last Thursday around 7 a.m., police say. Around 1 p.m. on Tuesday, the North Coventry Police Department responded to calls about a submerged car in the Schuylkill, at which time they arrived on the scene and Leister’s vehicle was retrieved from the river. The identification did not occur until Tuesday evening.

Despite being retired and living alone, Leister remained a prominent figure in the Pottstown community, which made his disappearance more shocking to family and friends.

“This is just out of the norm for him,” Leister’s grandson Mark Oerther told the Reading Eagle before his grandfather was found. “He’s so structured and disciplined in everything he does.”

Oerther added that Leister ate at Brookside Diner every evening and never missed a day.

The day before his disappearance, Leister reportedly fell while getting out of the shower and hit his head on the sink. He was checked on by a neighbor, but did not receive any medical treatment.

“I think it was worse than what anyone thought,” Oerther said. “He’s 93, and I wonder if the next day when he woke up … that’s the concern, that he didn’t know who, what, when or where.”

The cause of this tragedy remains unclear, and the Lower Pottsgrove Township Police Department has declined further comment until the investigation has been completed.

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