Body of student found near stadium

Keaton Patrick Murphy had been missing since leaving Hennepin County jail on Jan. 20.

Kyle Potter

BY KYLE POTTER

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The body of University of Minnesota student Keaton Patrick Murphy, who had been missing since Jan. 20, was found Thursday in a rail car behind TCF Bank Stadium.

Murphy, a 20-year-old College of Liberal Arts junior, was arrested on the afternoon of Jan. 20 as a suspect in a child pornography case. He was not seen or heard from between his release from Hennepin County Jail that afternoon and the morning his body was found.

When he went missing, his family expressed concerns that he may be depressed and suicidal.

“WeâÄôre worried sick,” his mother Rochelle Murphy told the Minnesota Daily while the missing person investigation was ongoing.

A railroad worker found MurphyâÄôs body in a rail car on the tracks behind the stadium at about 10:30 a.m. Thursday. Blood was spattered on the floors and walls of the compartment and the snow surrounding it.

University police Chief Greg Hestness said the police do not suspect homicide and said an official cause of death announcement is forthcoming.

University police began searching for Murphy last Saturday, talking with his roommates, friends and parents as well as checking his cell phone and credit card usage for any leads to his whereabouts. They found no evidence, Hestness said.

The Minneapolis Police Department was developing a case against Murphy while he was missing. The case will be wrapped up and dropped, Sgt. Stephen McCarty said.

“ItâÄôs time to be able to talk about it.”

Dr. Gary Christenson, director of Mental Health Services at Boynton Health Service, said Boynton gets calls from worried parents about missing children a couple times a year. The cases rarely result in death, as MurphyâÄôs did, he said.

Christenson stressed there are many services for anyone contemplating suicide, from walking into Boynton or a local emergency room to calling or visiting the University Counseling and Consulting Services or simply dialing 911.

Christenson didnâÄôt comment on MurphyâÄôs situation but said he hopes this may prompt discussions about mental health in general.

“You know somebody that has a mental health problem,” he said. “ItâÄôs time to be able to talk about it.”

College of Liberal Arts Dean James Parente released a statement Thursday evening regarding MurphyâÄôs death.

“WeâÄôre deeply saddened to learn of KeatonâÄôs death,” he said. “Anytime we lose a student, it is a tragedy for our community. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his parents, family and friends.”

Old classmates from high school have shared their memories of Murphy and offered condolences to his family in a Facebook group dedicated to him.

MurphyâÄôs memorial service will be held this Thursday morning in his hometown of Storm Lake, Iowa.

 

-Luke Feuerherm contributed to this report.