Family of late-Granger man says he went to fire station for help, ended up dead

NOW: Family of late-Granger man says he went to fire station for help, ended up dead

GRANGER, Ind. – There are new details in the death of 44-year-old Brian DeBeck of Granger. DeBeck died in late-April, just days after he was taken into police custody.

On Thursday, ABC57 Investigates obtained a copy of the public autopsy report. Under manner of death, it says “homicide” from something called "restraint asphyxia.” The report goes on to list an airway blockage, obesity, and hypertensive heart disease as contributing factors.

It's important to note that while the report does say “homicide,” that doesn't mean there will be criminal charges filed against anyone at this point.

We reached out to multiple law enforcement officials for interviews about the report, but all declined because they say this is an ongoing investigation.

ABC57 reached out to DeBeck’s family about what really happened April 19. His family declined an on-camera interview request on Thursday, but agreed to talk to us over the phone.

DeBeck was a locomotive engineer at Norfolk Southern and an avid outdoorsman.

His family tells us, overall, he was in good health, but he did have some mental health issues and was bipolar. 

On April 19, DeBeck showed up at the Clay Fire Station on Anderson Road, which was just blocks from his house. His family says he wasn't suicidal, but he was looking for help from firefighters.They add DeBeck had gone to that same firehouse at least once in the past and was taken in for treatment, which is why they say he felt safe going there again.

The family tells me they called the fire station to alert them DeBeck was walking over that night. But the next call they got was from police saying DeBeck was in the hospital in intensive care.

DeBeck died two days later on April 21. His family has retained a lawyer.

Debeck's family tells me they were expecting to receive a copy of his autopsy on Friday or Monday, July 26, but were shocked and upset to see it released publicly before then.

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