Officials: Body on interstate was Kannapolis teen

  • Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 11:21 a.m.
    UPDATED: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 12:33 p.m.

KANNAPOLIS — Investigators say a body found Saturday on Interstate 85 was a 14-year-old Kannapolis boy who apparently committed suicide.

The N.C. State Highway Patrol has confirmed the teen’s identity, but the Post is not naming him at this time.

Drivers reported the body to authorities around 12:30 p.m. Saturday. The boy was found beside the interstate about 50 yards south of the Lane Street bridge near the Rowan County line.

Investigators said drivers saw the body as early as 3:30 a.m., but thought it was an animal carcass.

Sgt. G.A. Barger said officials knew the teen’s identity Saturday evening but were waiting on confirmation from the N.C. Medical Examiner’s Office.

“We are pretty sure we know why he was there. We have information that he was there by his own intent,” Barger said.

Barger said investigators are still unsure if the teen jumped from the Lane Street bridge, ran into traffic or laid down in the road.

He was found more than 2 miles east of his home on Poplar Glen Drive.

The teen’s family didn’t see the boy early Saturday, but thought he was asleep because they’d been up late the night before, Barger said. When they realized around 8:30 a.m. he was missing, the boy’s family called authorities. They contacted the Kannapolis Police Department after seeing news reports about the body of a person with red hair being found on the interstate.

Barger said investigators were able to make an initial identification based on clothing the teen was wearing.

Based on the condition of the body, he said, investigators believe the boy was struck by a tractor trailer. They ask anyone who believes they may have hit the teen or witnesses to contact the Highway Patrol.

Barger said authorities don’t expect to file charges but want to talk to the driver.

The teen was taking regular medication for Asperger’s Syndrome and autism, but investigators don’t believe the medication contributed to his death, Barger said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the N.C. Highway Patrol by dialing *47 or 800-233-3151 or by dialing 911.

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