Autopsy findings end homicide investigation

An autopsy report shows a 34-year-old Holland man’s death was not a homicide.

 

Rockne “Rocky” Fitzgerald Brown was found in a pond bank around 2:40 p.m. Nov. 23 near the 200 block of Sawmill Road in the Holland community near Vilonia.


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Following an autopsy at the Arkansas State Crime Lab, it was ruled Brown’s death was accidental.

“Although findings in this case were limited due to advanced decomposition, a reasonable conclusion regarding the cause of death can be made,” the report reads. “Based on his history of drug abuse, the reported events which preceded his disappearance, the presence of methamphetamine in his system, and the absence of any acute trauma, it is most likely that death resulted from methamphetamine intoxication. The reported circumstances suggest that death was unintentional, and the manner will be classified as an accident.”

Brown was last seen walking on Sawmill Road on Sept. 3. A family member reported him missing Sept. 30.

Investigative notes related to Brown’s case show he “swallowed some drugs” the night he was last reportedly seen.

“The neighbor allowed him to stay at his house overnight, but then forced him to leave on the following morning,” the report reads. “He was not apparently seen alive after that time.”

According to reports, the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office responded to a trespassing report around 3:30 a.m. Sept. 3 on Sawmill Road.

Jared Upton told authorities he found Brown “outside his bedroom window” and did not want him there, according to reports.

Upton also reported he “noticed that his kid’s window was tampered with, his gate was open and the latch to his shop was open.”

According to Brown’s case file, Upton shot a gun toward Brown that night as a “warning shot” for trespassing.

“Mr. Upton described the discharge as a warning shot,” a report reads. “Mr. Upton also made the comment that a video surveillance system was set up on his house and the incident may have been caught on video.”

Upton provided investigators with a copy of the surveillance footage.

Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Carol Crews said the footage was too dark to see if Brown was shot during the incident.

According to Brown’s missing person report, he was 5 feel 11 inches tall and weighed about 180 pounds when he went missing. The autopsy file reported his remains weighed 96 pounds by the time his body was recovered from the pond on Sawmill Road.

Chief Deputy Matt Rice confirmed Monday the case was no longer considered a homicide investigation.

“There’s a lot of weird stuff [with this case],” he said. “But, we weren’t there. There’s just no evidence to say [this was murder].”

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