Former Houston Press editor Jim Simmon, who went missing shortly after Hurricane Harvey brought unprecedented floods to the Texas Gulf Coast, was found dead on Tuesday in unincorporated Fort Bend County. He was 63.
A man leasing property on Madden Road, northwest of Sugar Land, found Simmon's body under a tree and alerted Fort Bend County sheriff's deputies, according to Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office spokesman Bob Haenel.
Police have yet to determine how Simmon, who had early onset dementia, ended up at that location. Haenel said the property, which according to maps appears to be used for farming, had been under water as recently as September 8. More than 70 Texans died as a result of Hurricane Harvey, though it remains to be seen whether Simmon's death was related to the storm.
The Galveston County Medical Examiner's Office performed an autopsy on Simmon on Wednesday, spokesman John Florence said, adding that the report may not be finished for several weeks. Neither Florence nor Haenel, the sheriff's office spokesman, would speculate on the time, manner or cause of Simmon's death, though Haenel said police do not suspect foul play at this time.
Simmon, who lived in Montrose went missing on August 30, his family said. He was last seen at the Black Hole coffee shop off Richmond Avenue. How he ended up 19 miles away in rural Fort Bend County remains a mystery.
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In an interview with the New York Times last week, Jamie Kaelin, Simmon's ex-wife, said Simmon and his son, Luke, rode out the hurricane in their Montrose home. When the rains finally stopped on August 30, Kaelin said Simmon went to the coffee shop but did not return. Several hours later, Simmon called his son and said he was
near an aquatic center in Fort Bend County, Kaelin told the newspaper.
But since Luke Simmon did not have access to a car, he was unable to drive to the location right away. With first responders taxed by the historic flooding, Kaelin said her calls to 911 went unanswered.
By the time Simmon's son arrived at the aquatic center the following morning, August 31, there was no sign of his father. Simmon's body was discovered 12 days later about a mile from the Fort Bend ISD Aquatic Practice Facility.
An award-winning journalist, Simmon served as the city editor of the Bryan-College Station Eagle, political editor at the Houston Chronicle and as a reporter and assistant city editor at the former Houston Post. He served as editor of the Houston Press in the 1990s.