published Friday, June 19th, 2009

Cause of death at Bonnaroo unknown; man identified

It may take weeks to determine how a Fort Payne, Ala., man died on the grounds of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, authorities said Thursday.

Coffee County Sheriff Steve Graves said fingerprint analysis identified the man as Matthew Lands, 26. The family was notified early Thursday afternoon, he said.

But preliminary autopsy reports from the Tennessee Medical Examiner’s Office in Nashville did not determine a cause of death, the sheriff said.

“There was no sign of any injury,” Sheriff Graves said.

Mr. Lands’ body is still being examined at the office in Nashville. The sheriff said results from toxicology tests could take weeks.

Workers with a crew cleaning up the festival site found Mr. Lands’ body in a one-person tent about noon CDT on Tuesday. His black pickup was parked nearby, authorities said.

A medic reported this week he had spoken with Mr. Lands about 3 p.m. CDT Monday.

The sheriff said investigators used information from the truck to contact the DeKalb County, Ala., Sheriff’s Office to verify fingerprint information.

Mr. Lands is at least the sixth person to die at the annual music and arts festival since it began in 2002. Some of those deaths were determined to be drug related.

Festival organizer Rick Farman released a statement through Kaleidoscope Media on Wednesday that said workers had checked the area Monday afternoon and had not seen a body but found Mr. Lands’ body while re-examining the area Tuesday afternoon.

Family members could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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