Lincoln County teen found dead in family’s barn

Published 7:30 pm Wednesday, June 6, 2018

STANFORD — The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department and Coroner’s Office are investigating the death of a teenager reported Monday afternoon.

Sam Singleton, 13, was found in the family’s barn on Ephesus School Road in Ottenheim. He was pronounced dead around 4:30 p.m. by Lincoln County Coroner Farris Marcum. Authorities are trying to determine if the death is accidental.

“Dispatch told me to respond to the hospital that a young person had been found hanging in a barn by a rope. That was the initial report,” Marcum said. “We’re still trying to figure out what happened to the little fellow.”

Email newsletter signup

Marcum said Singleton’s mother was the one who discovered him in the barn.

“I don’t have a timeline of the last time she saw him. I do know she found him out there,” he said. “We’re still trying to determine the nature of exactly what he was doing out in the barn. His mom said he played out there a lot, as a typical kid would. As of right now, we don’t have any definitive answer. We’re still checking into it.”

According to Marcum, the family loved kayaking and that there was “some rope and stuff out in the barn and other items” and there was “some rope up on some rafters.”

Marcum said he did not know Singleton himself but was told by so many Monday that he was a “super good kid, very intelligent, a good track runner, and very likable.” He added that his son, Chase Marcum, had worked with Singleton when he was a 4-H Camp counselor and that the young man was “just a joy to be around.”

Marcum had not talked with the family as of Tuesday and said he probably would give them some time before meeting with them.

“Obviously, his mom and dad were very distraught,” he said. “I’m going to give them a day or two to kind of get their mental capacity back …
“I want to get the big picture. We may never know what happened, but I at least want to try to identify a couple items.”

Sheriff Curt Folger agreed with Marcum that the exact cause of death may never be determined.

“We might not never know,” he said. “The hardest question that most families ask at times like this is ‘Why?’ Right now, that’s the million-dollar question — ‘Why?’ As far as I’ve been told, this kid supposedly had everything going for him. He was a great athlete and I was told he could possibly have been a world-class kayaker.”

“There’s just not a lot to know right now,” he added. “Right now, it is best to just let the family mourn.”

While the investigation is ongoing, Folger said he thinks it’s probably going down as an accident.

“I think Farris will probably end up ruling it as an accidental death by asphyxiation.”