The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of a 16-year-old male who had been living in Imperial and was enrolled at Seckman High School. The young man, originally from De Soto, died Nov. 29 at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Capt. Gary Higginbotham said.
He said authorities know the young man was fighting with another 16 year-old male on Nov. 28 in the Country Club Manor mobile home community, where they both were living. Shortly after the fight, the victim was taken to the hospital where he died the next day, Higginbotham said.
“We have confirmed there was a physical altercation” he said. “There was a confrontation, and the boys mutually agreed to fight.”
Higginbotham also said the Sheriff’s Office received reports that the teen had asthma and appeared to have an asthma attack the day of the fight.
An autopsy has been performed, but a cause of death had not been determined, he said Monday (Dec. 4). Authorities must wait for a Medical Examiner’s Office report to be completed before a cause of death is known, Higginbotham said.
“We’ll be waiting for about four to six weeks,” he said.
Higginbotham said the Jefferson County Juvenile Division also is awaiting the test results.
Seckman High principal Todd Scott said that the young man was enrolled at Seckman but was taking classes through the Missouri Options program, a state program for students at risk of not graduating with their class.
Scott said additional counselors were brought in to help Seckman students cope with the loss of their schoolmate, and many took advantage of the opportunity.
“He was a popular student with his friends,” Scott said. “Any time there is a tragic loss of life, additional counselors are brought in and they spend a lot of time talking with our kids.”
At 7:14 p.m. Nov. 28, Jefferson County 911 Dispatch received a hang-up call from the 4000 block of Birch Drive, where the fight occurred. The agency called back and the phone was busy, and when 911 called a second time, the person who answered said the teenager had received an inhaler, Higginbotham said.
A short time later, though, someone called 911 again, and emergency responders headed to the scene at 7:20 p.m., Higginbotham said.
The young man was transported to St. Anthony’s Medical Center in south St. Louis County but was transferred to Children’s Hospital, where he died at 8:05 p.m. the next day.
Law enforcement did not respond to the scene, but the Sheriff’s Office began investigating the incident after receiving a report that the victim was in a fight prior to the medical emergency, Higginbotham said.
The incident is still under investigation, he said Monday.