Kansas and regional news

Kansas and regional news

Mother doubts train fatality was suicide

April 15, 2006

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The mother of a Baker University student killed by a train this week in Edgerton said she believed the death was the result of an accident, not suicide.

Joy Morgan, mother of 23-year-old Jeffrey Morgan of Emporia, said she had been told by investigators that her son could have wrecked his car near the train tracks, become disoriented and stepped onto the tracks while a train was passing.

But Lt. John Resman of the Johnson County Sheriff's Office said "there's no evidence" of Morgan having wrecked his vehicle near the tracks beforehand.

"His car is driveable. It's the same condition he drove up in," Resman said. "We towed it away because that's our standard practice."

Still, Resman acknowledged that investigators may never know exactly what caused Morgan to be struck by the train. He said officers have found no evidence that there was foul play - leaving an accident and a suicide as the two main possibilities.

"He could have been walking along the tracks and just stumbled into the oncoming train," he said. "We will never know."

The sheriff's office responded to the death at 2:18 a.m. on the railroad tracks at 199th Street south of U.S. Highway 56. Toxicology results are pending and could take a month, Resman said.

Morgan, who survived Hodgkin's disease while in high school, was involved in a variety of activities at Baker, ranging from radio broadcasting to the football team.

According to Morgan's homepage on the Internet site MySpace.com, he also owned a bar in Emporia and was an aspiring country singer.

His mother said he was planning to attend medical school in Tennessee after graduation.

"(I) have the doctor thing to fall on if the muzik does not work out," he wrote on his Web site. "I am currently applying to Meharry Medical College Medical program in Nashville so I can move to Nashville and be closer to the music."

The university plans a service for Morgan at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Osborne Chapel on campus.

"It is difficult to imagine a more devastating loss," Baker President Daniel Lambert said in a statement. "We extend our deepest sympathy to the Morgan family and will hold them in our prayers during the days just ahead."

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