Body of missing U student found in boxcar

  • Article by: ANTHONY LONETREE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 27, 2011 - 9:13 PM

The body of Keaton Murphy was found in industrial area behind TCF Bank Stadium.

Keaton Murphy

Photo: Handout - Hennepin County Sherif, Star Tribune

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The body of a missing University of Minnesota student was discovered Thursday in a railcar in an industrial area near TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, police said.

Keaton Murphy, 20, disappeared last week shortly after being released from jail, where he had been taken on suspicion of distributing child pornography.

Murphy was last seen leaving the Hennepin County jail about 7:15 p.m. on Jan. 20. According to jail records, he was released that night pending the filing of a formal complaint. His parents told police they were concerned he might be depressed and suicidal.

University Police Chief Greg Hestness said on Thursday that Murphy's clothing and identification were on the body. He said the cause of death still was under investigation, but he did not believe it was a homicide. A rail worker discovered the body shortly after 10:30 a.m. Thursday, he said.

A woman who answered the phone at Murphy's Iowa residence said the family had been notified of the body's discovery. She criticized news coverage of the disappearance, saying if it were not for some stories, "this probably wouldn't have happened."

She did not elaborate.

Last weekend, U police put out a missing person release seeking information about Murphy's whereabouts. Although that release made no mention of him being a suspect in a child porn case, an alert issued on the department's behalf by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension did take note of the case, as well as the possibility of felony charges. The BCA alert was quoted by news outlets.

According to his hometown newspaper in Storm Lake, Iowa, Murphy was an Eagle Scout who excelled in academics and arts at Storm Lake High School.

In a statement, James A. Parente Jr., dean of the U's College of Liberal Arts, said: "We're deeply saddened to learn of Keaton's death. Anytime we lose a student, it is a tragedy for our community. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his parents, family and friends."

Staff writer Matt McKinney contributed to this report. Anthony Lonetree • 612-673-4109

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