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February 12, 2014

Autopsy report completed for man killed outside Arrowhead Stadium in December

The medical examiner’s office did not release the report or provide the cause of death for Kyle Van Winkle, 30, of Smithville, because the criminal investigation into his death is ongoing.

The Jackson County medical examiner has completed the autopsy report for Kyle Van Winkle, who died outside Arrowhead Stadium in December after a tailgater mistook him for a thief and beat him.

The medical examiner’s office did not release the report or provide the cause of death for Van Winkle, 30, of Smithville, because the criminal investigation into his death is ongoing.

Kansas City police said they had been waiting on autopsy results before submitting the case file to prosecutors, who will decide whether to file charges. Detectives plan to submit the file Thursday.

The death was ruled a homicide, police said, meaning the death was caused by the hands of another. Such a ruling does not necessarily mean murder charges will be filed. Homicides can be justified, considered self-defense or charged as voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.

Van Winkle had gone to the stadium with his father and a group of friends and relatives to watch the Chiefs play the Denver Broncos. During the first quarter, he told his father he was going to the restroom. He never returned to his seat.

Instead, he walked to the parking lot, got into a green Jeep similar to one in his tailgating convoy and fell asleep. After the Jeep’s owner discovered him, a group of tailgaters confronted Van Winkle, and one beat him unconscious.

The Star is not naming the 24-year-old suspect because he has not been charged. His attorney, Garry Helm, a lawyer and part-time city judge in Independence, has said previously that his client was “really remorseful. It was just a misunderstanding of the whole situation.”

Van Winkle and his wife had a 7-week-old baby at the time of his death. He worked at CommunityAmerica Credit Union.

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