May 3rd, 2010
04:01 PM ET

Update: “Possible suicide” in death of Drake University Student






Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

The Drake University student who died from a gunshot wound may have taken his own life, authorities said in a news conference this afternoon.

Benjamin Backstrom, 22, was found last week on Highway 65 outside Indianola, police said. The case was originally classified as a homicide. During today’s news conference, investigators said the sophomore likely committed suicide.

It appeared he died “as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” said Michael Motsinger, special agent in charge with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. “Any time a young person dies in this matter it is a difficult thing for the family to go through.”

Backstrom was leaning against a highway bridge in the early morning hours of April 27 and was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead, authorities said.

According to Mostinger, evidence gathered in the investigation revealed “no credible threats” against Backstrom.

In today’s news conference, Motsinger said surveillance recordings indicated Backstrom was alone in his vehicle that night and that there were no other vehicles in the area. He also said the student was observed by witnesses walking along the highway by himself shortly before he was found on the bridge.

In addition, a gun has been reported missing from the family’s residence and has not been located, he said.

Authorities continue to gather information connected to the case and ask anyone with information to contact the Warren County Sheriff’s Office at 515-961-1122

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
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