McFarland City Manager John Wooner drowned in accidental death, coroner says

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John Wooner

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Former McFarland City Manager John Wooner, whose body was found in a vehicle in the Kern River after he went missing for months, died from drowning due to blunt injuries, and his death was an accident, according to coroner’s officials.

The body of Wooner, 57, was recovered July 28 in the river at eastbound Highway 178 mile marker number 16.81.

Wooner went missing in a city-owned Durango after he was last seen May 14 visiting Hillcrest Memorial Park. The cemetery is 11.1 miles from where the submerged vehicle was removed.

The city manager had been accused of sexual misconduct at work and threatened to file a hostile work environment lawsuit against the city before he disappeared, according to investigative documents.

McFarland Mayor Manuel Cantu told investigators Wooner was also upset the city budget would be $180,000 short. Cantu said Wooner had asked to be fired when the two talked May 10.

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