Police sergeant's son identified as dying at Arrowhead lot - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Police sergeant's son identified as dying from Arrowhead incident

Arrowhead Stadium (Alice Barr/KCTV5) Arrowhead Stadium (Alice Barr/KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The man who died following a struggle at Arrowhead Stadium during the Chiefs game is the son of an area police sergeant.

Kyle Van Winkle, 30, of Smithville, died at an area hospital Sunday night. His father, Sgt. Dean Van Winkle, is the public information officer for the city of Grandview. He said Monday afternoon that the family would have no further comment.

Officers searched an Independence home related to the investigation into Kyle Van Winkle's death.

After obtaining a search warrant, officers entered the home in the 400 block of North Ponca Drive at 11:30 a.m. Monday. They were inside the home for about two hours.

Officer Darrin Snapp of the Kansas City Police Department said detectives received a tip that there is evidence inside the home that would aid their investigation. He did not detail what officers hope to gather or how it's connected to the death.

Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte called Kyle Van Winkle's death a homicide in a tweet. Other police officials called it a death investigation.

Three persons of interest were taken into custody Sunday night. They were released on Monday pending further investigation. Police have not provided details on their connection to the death.

Autopsy results can take up to two months and that will be crucial in determining "whether or not a crime has occurred," Kansas City police said Monday afternoon.

Neighbors described Kyle Van Winkle and his wife as friendly and accessible. They had a baby.

Officers were called to Lot A at 5:20 p.m. Sunday. The Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos kicked off at 3:25 p.m.

Police sources tell KCTV5 that a man and his son had gone to their Jeep during the game. When they arrived, they found a man who they say they didn't know sitting inside the SUV. Detectives are working to determine whether Kyle Van Winkle had broken into the vehicle or was mistakenly in the wrong vehicle. An initial report from police said the man was rifling through the vehicle.

But authorities now believe that wasn't the case, and Van Winkle apparently mistakenly got into the wrong vehicle.

Police say Van Winkle went to the game in a similar vehicle and the vehicle he was found in showed no signs of a break-in, the Associated Press reported.

As Jeep owner confronted Van Winkle, the owner's young son ran for help. The man who was found in the Jeep collapsed onto the pavement.

Officers said they aren't aware of any other break-ins at Arrowhead on Sunday.

Snapp said an autopsy will be key since Kyle Van Winkle wasn't stabbed or shot. Hospital officials didn't find signs of a significant struggle on his body.

"The main thing we're trying to figure out now is exactly how this person died. The hospital says there's no obvious signs of how he passed away, so we're still waiting on that. We're going to investigate it as a homicide until we find out exactly how the person died," Snapp said.

Police are interviewing witnesses.

"Everyone was very cooperative when we got here," Snapp said Sunday night. "Everyone that we believed was involved is still here and we're talking to them. Right now they're persons of interest. Like I said, until we find out exactly how this person passed away, we're going to investigate it as a homicide. They're not suspects right now until we find out exactly what happened."

Residents who live near the home searched in Independence say that they saw something strange Sunday night. Several cars containing people they didn't recognize pulled up to the house.

"Then for like 30, 40 minutes, they just walked around the yard, " said Daniel Childress. "One of them had a flashlight, was in the back yard and they were just really pounding on the door headily and making a loud noise and yelling out his name. I could just tell there was a sense of urgency that was kind of unsettling for sure, obviously something wasn't right."

Police asked anyone who may have witnessed what occurred to the call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.

Those parked nearby were stunned.

"More than anything it's just the fact that it happened so close to us makes it more into perspective than anything, but Arrowhead I don't think is the issue here. I think the fact that we live in a crazy, sick world is more the issue," Marcus Pitts said.

Kyle Van Winkle's death occurred exactly one year after Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed Kasandra Perkins, the mother of his infant daughter, and then drove to Arrowhead, where he killed himself in front of horrified team leaders.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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