Officials say Kulling case will take months

As Oil City police await a full autopsy report, the investigation continues into the death of an Oil City man who was found in the Allegheny River on May 28.

The man was identified as Daniel Kulling, who went missing from his Siverly area home in December. He was 34 at the time.

Venango County Coroner Christina Rugh said Friday it will likely take three to four months to determine the exact cause of death.

A toxicology report will take two to four weeks, after which a pathologist will examine microscopic slides of cell tissue, she said.

“You have to look at it from the perspective that he was in the water for five months, making it difficult to determine the cause of death,” Rugh said. “The pathologist has to look at every avenue before he makes a final determination.”

Kulling’s body was found by kayakers just before noon on Memorial Day near the shore, about a half-mile south of the Oil City Marina in Cranberry Township.

Oil City police Chief Bob Wenner said his department is waiting on the autopsy and toxicology reports, but that they aren’t being idle in the meantime.

“We’re still doing interviews, talking to people and following the chain of events,” he said. “A lot of information is not out to the public or even family members, because if it turns into a criminal investigation later those things can jeopardize a criminal prosecution.”

Kulling’s family and friends held a demonstration near the Oil City police station on May 31 to push for a criminal investigation by police as well as to take a stand against perceived negative portrayals of Kulling.

“I have no issue with them marching or protesting,” Wenner said. “That’s their right. I defended it in the service and I defend it now. They were orderly and didn’t obstruct traffic or cause any issues.”

Wenner said he understands the family’s grief and he doesn’t agree with unkind comments made about Kulling on social media.

“All life has value,” Wenner said. “Simple as that.”