2016-11-29 / Front Page

Dental records identify suicide victim in County Line East home explosion

by Michael Stanley
Staff Writer


The scene of a Wednesday, Nov. 16 home explosion on North County Line Road East, just off of Rolling Meadows Golf Course, is seen from between two Owen Valley Volunteer Fire Department trucks. (Staff Photo) The scene of a Wednesday, Nov. 16 home explosion on North County Line Road East, just off of Rolling Meadows Golf Course, is seen from between two Owen Valley Volunteer Fire Department trucks. (Staff Photo) The victim in a massive home explosion on North County Line Road East has been positively identified as the homeowner, Don R. Richards, 84, of Spencer.

The conclusion of a full investigation determined Richards tampered with a gas line valve before noon on Wednesday, Nov. 16, and successfully ignited the explosion of his 2,700 square foot home. Debris from the blast was sent flying several hundred yards in all directions and was heard by residents miles away.

A forensic autopsy performed by Dr. Roland Kohr determined the cause of death to be Pulmonary Barotrauma, or trauma from the shockwave of the blast. The manner of death was determined to be suicide.

The investigation included efforts by the Owen County Sheriff ’s Department, Owen County Coroner’s office, Owen Valley Volunteer Fire Department, Owen County Emergency Management, Indiana State Fire Marshal’s office and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Fire- arms and Explosions.


The aftermath of an explosion at the home of Don Richards, located at 171 North County Line Road East, included the charred remains of a car and truck. (Staff Photo) The aftermath of an explosion at the home of Don Richards, located at 171 North County Line Road East, included the charred remains of a car and truck. (Staff Photo) An official cause of the explosion was deemed undetermined, due to extensive damage caused by the blast. Richards was located in what remained of the structure.

Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2016-11-29 digital edition