WEBB CITY, Mo. — Chief of the Webb City Police Department, Donald Melton, released a statement Saturday regarding the death of a minor earlier this month.

The full release from Chief Melton can be found below:

On Thursday, May 5, 2022, at 07:19 hours officers with the Webb City Police Department began investigating the unattended death of a minor.  This is a tragedy that no family should ever have to endure.  This child was the son, brother, nephew, & grandson that was loved by many friends.  With utmost respect for, and approval from, the family, we decided not to publicize our investigation.  We have been in constant contact with the family, giving them details of the investigation from the very beginning along with updates as they come in.  Ultimately, the family are the ones that truly need to know the information.  With continued respect to the family, we spoke with them before releasing this statement.

Although there were no obvious signs of foul play at the crime scene or with the initial results from the autopsy, we decided not to publicize any information until we received the official copy of the completed autopsy.  We would not want to come to a conclusion until all of the evidence has been processed and all of the facts have been collected.  This takes time.  As a standard practice, we have not made public the information from a death investigation where there were no obvious signs of foul play.  We spoke with reporters from our local news syndicates, and they agreed that they would not run a story like this until all the facts were collected.

We have seen and read the posts on social media saying that the child was a victim of bullying.  We have been working closely with administrators and teachers from the school district from the initial call.  We have been unable to substantiate any of these allegations.  It is unfortunate that a select few have turned this family’s tragedy into an opportunity to get more social media followers or “likes.”  It is also inappropriate that many have chosen to share these posts without attempting to validate the information first.  To date, none of the people posting on social media have contacted the police department to provide information to assist us in our investigation.  We encourage those posting their speculations of bullying to contact the police department so that we can follow up on their information that they have been posting.  We encourage anyone with any information about this case to contact our investigators.  In the end we want to give the family, the factual truth of what happened to their child. 

We appreciate those who have been patient, trusting us to conduct our investigation without fueling the speculation and hindering our process. 

Donald E. Melton Chief of Police