Lab tests should help show if man was buried alive

Sunday, March 17, 2002

ELKHORN, Mo. -- Authorities are awaiting laboratory tests to determine if a man found near the site of a Ray County traffic accident was alive when he was buried.

According to Missouri Highway Patrol reports, James M. Dixon, 27, of Excelsior Springs, was a passenger in a 1989 Jeep Wrangler that crashed early March 10 on Rock Falls Road, about one mile west of Route N near Orrick. Troopers said the vehicle ran off the road, hit an embankment and overturned, ejecting Dixon.

The wreck was reported to police Tuesday. Investigators went to the scene and saw no damaged vehicle but discovered a trail of blood leading into the woods. They found Dixon's body covered with dirt a few hundred feet from the road.

No charges have been filed, and police have been unable to locate the Jeep's driver.

County Coroner Dean Snow said Dixon died from injuries, including a skull fracture and several bruises. Snow and Thompson said lab tests would help show whether Dixon inhaled dirt, how much blood he lost and how much blood soaked into the ground after he was buried.

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