2018-06-07 / News

Causes of death of Burton man probed

By Tanya Terry
810-452-2645 • tterry@mihomepaper.com

BURTON — Police continue to explore possible causes of death of a Burton man who was reported missing just weeks ago, whose body was later found in the woods near Thread Creek, in the Lippincott Boulevard and Barks Street area, in Flint

The man’s decomposed body found on May 27 by a man who was walking his dog in the area, who contacted the police department. First Lieutenant Dave Kaiser of the Michigan State Police said the man was likely near a trail or an area between residences and the dog found the body off the main path.

“Our state police crime lab responded as a request for assistance at 9:16 p.m. that night to the wooded area,” Kaiser said.

According to the police report, officers met with the caller whose dog located the body, and the caller then directed officers to the scene where they observed the decomposing body.

“Due to the state of the body, the police contacted our state crime lab to assist with processing the scene and gathering evidence, and they were able to make a positive identification,” Kaiser said. “I don’t know if the Michigan State Police Crime Lab determined this through fingerprint identification or through dental records. If the body is not too decomposed, a lot of times they will use the fingerprints because it’s easier. If that doesn’t work, they’ll do dental records. The state police crime lab is kind of like our CSI. They come out and do all the forensic science.”

The body was identified that of James Byron Christopher, 43, of Burton. Christopher was reported missing from Burton several weeks prior to this

Investigators are still trying determine the cause of Christopher’s death.

“At this time, there does not appear to be any type of foul play,” Kaiser said.

Kaiser said the crime lab could be leaning towards a drug overdose.

“That’s always a possibility,” he said. “They are trying to determine if his death was caused by natural causes or medical causes, or if it was drug induced.”

The Michigan State Police Major

Crimes Unit, consisting of detectives from Michigan State Police and Flint Police detectives, continues to investigate the incident.

“It takes a little bit of time for the tests” Kaiser said.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact Detective Tpr. Jason Walters at 810-237-6916 or Crime Stoppers of Flint and Genesee County at 1-800- 422-JAIL (5245).

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