LARNED — The investigation into the death of Matthew Aaron Dell, 25, of Larned, has been completed, Larned Police Chief Charles Orth said Wednesday. An autopsy was performed in Hays Saturday night, and "we’re awaiting formal results," Orth said. "But it appears that it was an accident," he said.
Dell was taken from a site near fertilizer storage bins in the 400 block of Toles Avenue to Pawnee Valley Community Hospital, Larned, about 3:15 a.m. Saturday. He had apparently fallen from the top of one of the four bins, each about 40 feet high. At 4 a.m. Saturday, he was pronounced dead at the local hospital.
Orth said Dell and a lifelong friend, 26 years old, had been drinking beer, starting Friday night, it appears. They climbed to the top of a storage bin and continued to drink beer. They were atop a bin, and Dell jumped several times from the top of one to the top of a nearby one. On approximately his fourth try, he lost his balance and fell between the two bins.
Orth said his department does not yet have a final blood-alcohol content report on Dell, or toxicology reports. It will be several weeks before those come in, he said.
"But it appears the accident was related to consumption of alcoholic beverages," he said. "The survivor’s account is consistent with its being an accidental fall, causing death."