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Autopsy offers few answers

Patrick Kycia's mother says final autopsy results released Thursday by Moorhead police don't tell the family what it really wants to know. It's good news that her son didn't use hallucinogenic mushrooms the night of his death, Rose Foley said by ...

Patrick Kycia's mother says final autopsy results released Thursday by Moorhead police don't tell the family what it really wants to know.

It's good news that her son didn't use hallucinogenic mushrooms the night of his death, Rose Foley said by telephone from her Stillwater, Minn., home.

But "we're still baffled" by the circumstances that led him to drown in the Red River, she said.

Moorhead Police Lt. Bob Larson would not release the entire autopsy report Thursday, saying it was part of the ongoing investigation into Kycia's death.

Police instead issued a statement saying the autopsy concluded Kycia died from freshwater drowning. THC, indicative of marijuana, was in his bloodstream, but there was no trace of mushrooms.

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There was no trauma to the body, either internal or external, and his blood alcohol level was .17 percent, the statement from police said.

Kycia, a 19-year-old Minnesota State University Moorhead sophomore, died Sept. 23 after attending a party at the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. Seven of its members have been charged with a felony for giving Kycia alcohol that apparently figured in his death.

A search of the fraternity house also turned up hallucinogenic mushrooms, and a former member faces drug-trafficking charges.

Moorhead Police Sgt. Shannon Monroe said it is unknown when Kycia smoked the marijuana because it can remain in your system for several weeks.

"You could smoke marijuana last week and you'd still have marijuana in your system," Monroe said.

"If there was any psilocybin (mushrooms) in his system, that would've really gotten my anger up," said his father, Julian Kycia of Anoka, Minn. "Now that they didn't find it, it really makes a lot of questions come up."

The family still wonders whether a .17 blood alcohol would have been sufficient to make him stumble into the river either intentionally or by accident, his father said.

"If his friends told me he was the type that would jump in the river or do stupid things, I might believe them. But they always said he was the one that had the cool, calm head."

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Clay County Attorney Lisa Borgen said the final autopsy report, which she hadn't yet seen late Thursday afternoon, won't affect the cases against the fraternity members.

For example, there will be no drug charges filed over Kycia's death, she said.

"It really doesn't change anything that's already transpired," she said.

Foley said she had heard about the conclusions in the final autopsy report, but hasn't yet talked about them with Moorhead police.

She said the family was happy Patrick hadn't taken mushrooms but still was puzzled about how he ended up in the river.

"I guess we're just confused," she said. "You wait for the final toxicology (report) and there's nothing substantial. We just don't believe he walked a mile and a half and walked through a park and found a river and walked in.

"I'm not trying to be in denial; it's just not something Pat would have done. We'll probably never know."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Pantera at (701) 241-5541

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