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Senator says U.S. attorney general will review the case of drowning victim Brandon Ellingson

tar staff and news service reports

Brandon Ellingson, a 20-year-old Iowa man, drowned at the Lake of the Ozarks while in a Missouri trooper’s custody.
Brandon Ellingson, a 20-year-old Iowa man, drowned at the Lake of the Ozarks while in a Missouri trooper’s custody.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley said Friday that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will personally review the case of an Iowa man who drowned while in a Missouri trooper’s custody.

Grassley, an Iowa Republican, said he recently spoke with Holder about the drowning of 20-year-old Brandon Ellingson at the Lake of the Ozarks. He said the attorney general told him he would review information about the case before providing it to staff attorneys at the U.S. Justice Department.

Ellingson had been detained May 31 on suspicion of boating while intoxicated.

Anthony Piercy, a veteran highway trooper, first handcuffed Ellingson's wrists behind his back and then pulled an already buckled life vest, with armholes, over his head and upper torso, witnesses said. The vest, which wasn't properly secured, came off shortly after Ellingson fell into the water from Piercy’s boat.

Piercy testified at a coroner's inquest in September that he realized he should have had more training.

A jury in the inquest ruled the death an accident, but Ellingson’s family has said there are unanswered questions about the circumstances of the death.

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