A teenager recently found dead at his Shawnee home died of electrocution while working on computers, according to police and coroner reports.
The teenager, whose name is being withheld at the request of his family, was found lying unresponsive on his bedroom floor. “Near the body were partially dismantled computers on which he had been working,” an autopsy report states.
The boy’s father summoned emergency services and started resuscitation efforts, but the teen was pronounced dead at the scene.
The autopsy, performed by assistant Johnson County Coroner Dr. Michael Handler, “revealed an electrical burn on the left chest,” one of the forensic indicators of electrocution.
“That’s very rare,” Dan Besco of Besco Computers said of the accident. “I can’t believe it happened in Shawnee.”
Besco, whose computer repair business has been serving Shawnee since 1976, said the victim “had to have opened up the power supply” to sustain the lethal charge.
Capt. Dan Tennis of the Shawnee Police Department confirmed “it was a tower computer; he was stripping it out when he got into the power supply.”
According to Besco, he never opens computer power supplies, which typically bear “high voltage” warnings.
“I don’t go there,” he said of power supplies. “You can’t repair it. There are no serviceable components. It’s a $20 box, so if it’s not working, I take it out and put a new one in.
“The moral of the story is: Heed warning labels.”
Dave Bradshaw, a technician with Skyline Computer Service in Shawnee, said computer power supplies include capacitors that store electricity and can deliver a potentially lethal shock even when the power is shut off.