CHURCH HILL — Alcohol is suspected to have played a role in the death of an Volunteer High School senior who was found dead last Wednesday morning outside a Church Hill mobile home.
The name of the 18-year-old victim is still being withheld by Church Hill police pending completion of the investigation.
CHPD Chief Mark Johnson told the Times-News Monday afternoon that he has yet to receive a preliminary autopsy report to confirm the cause of death.
Johnson said his department continues to investigate the death as a possible homicide, although he wouldn’t rule out the possibility that it could change to an accidental death pending the autopsy results.
Johnson added that there were no injuries observed on the victim by police that appeared to be life threatening.
“We’ve interviewed several people, and the rest of our investigation is going to hinge on the preliminary autopsy results,” Johnson said. “If he’s got internal injuries consistent with being beaten severely or a busted skull, that’s the way we’ll proceed. If the (autopsy) results indicated it was simply a matter of freezing to death, then we’re possibly looking an accidental death.”
Johnson added, “There was nothing we found at the scene that would have explained the cause of death.”
Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Tony Allen confirmed for the Times-News Monday that his department is conducting a separate investigation related to the Church Hill teen’s death for incidents that took place outside the city limits.
“The boy was drinking with some other people who were underage,” Allen said. “We’re trying to find out if an adult provided the alcohol to them. Our investigation is ongoing.”
Wednesday morning the victim was found deceased outside a residence in a mobile home park on Burlington Road in Church Hill. The victim resided in that mobile home park, but he was found outside a different residence, and apparently had been there for several hours.