Cause of death determined for Iowa boy who left home in snowstorm

/ CBS News

Boy who left home in snowstorm found dead

Marshalltown, Iowa — A boy who left his Iowa home amid a snowstorm last week after a fight with his parents over his cellphone died in a fall, police said Wednesday. Marshalltown police say 13-year-old Corey Brown's body was located Sunday in a secluded area on the west side of Marshalltown.

Preliminary autopsy results released by the department Wednesday say Brown's body was found at the bottom of a communication tower site. Investigators say they believe Brown climbed over a secure fence to enter the tower site after he left his home Jan. 22.

Corey Brown KCCI

Marshalltown Police say Brown climbed onto the tower and fell from an "undetermined distance." He died of a traumatic head injury.

Police say the preliminary autopsy results show no foul play or criminal action. The Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner, which conducted the autopsy, referred questions to Marshalltown Police. Marshalltown Police Chief Michael Tupper said the medical examiner is awaiting toxicology reports and hasn't yet determined a manner of death. Tupper said he believed it was "highly likely" Brown's death was accidental, but is awaiting the medical examiner's final determination.

In an earlier release, police said Corey was last seen around 11:15 p.m. Jan. 22. CBS affiliate KCCI reports that Tupper said surveillance video captured the boy leaving home. Tupper said at a Thursday news conference the teen's parents took his phone away as punishment after a "disciplinary discussion," reported the Des Moines Register.

"It's a typical interaction with a 13-year-old child, nothing extraordinary," Tupper said Thursday. "But he reacted emotionally to that."

At the press conference last week, the boy's parents had issued an emotional plea for him to return home.

"Corey you know how much we love you, and I'm not gonna stop until we find you," his mother Michelle Brown said through tears.

Volunteers and public safety workers searched for him, but the search was complicated by frigid temperatures and blustery winds.

The Marshalltown Community School District said Sunday it was saddened to learn about Corey's death and that he "was loved by many and will be deeply missed."

First published on January 30, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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