The man who was found dead in a Warren County farm field this weekend apparently overdosed — on anhydrous ammonia.
"We’re really not sure for what purpose the victim in this particular case had for being on the property. We’re not aware of any legitimate, legal reason they had for being there," says James Saunders, a spokesman for the Iowa Department of Public Safety.
Anhydrous ammonia is one of the main ingredients for the illegal drug methamphetamine. Farmers and chemical supply companies have taken steps in recent years to lock down anhydrous tanks to prevent such thefts, but Saunders doesn’t know whether this particular tank had a lock. "I think we’re making an assumption at this point that it possibly was a theft but we really don’t know for sure and that’s one of the things the DCI continues to investigate," Saunders says.
Results of the man’s autopsy were released Monday afternoon and the cause of death listed as an accidental exposure to anhydrous ammonia. "(He) would have ingested it through breathing the fumes," Saunders says.
Authorities used fingerprint records to identify the man, but his name is being withheld until relatives are notified.
The man, described as white and about 30-years-old, was found Saturday afternoon in a field about two miles from Hartford.