Death investigation of Webb City, Mo. student, no foul play

Police Chief Don Melton releases details regarding their ongoing investigation

WEBB CITY, Mo. — The Webb City Police Dept release details in the death investigation of a student. Webb City Schools confirmed earlier this week in a statement, the student was discovered and they, “responded by contacting local authorities, emergency personnel.”

Chief Don Melton of the Webb City PD states, “On Thursday, May 5, 2022, at 07:19 hours officers with the Webb City Police Department began investigating the unattended death of a minor.

With the utmost respect for and approval from, the family, we decided not to publicize our investigation.  We have been in constant contact with the family, giving them details of the investigation from the very beginning along with updates as they come in.

Ultimately, the family is the one that truly needs to know the information.  With continued respect to the family, we spoke with them before releasing this statement.

Although there were no obvious signs of foul play at the crime scene or with the initial results from the autopsy, we decided not to publicize any information until we received the official copy of the completed autopsy.  We would not want to come to a conclusion until all of the evidence has been processed and all of the facts have been collected.  This takes time.

As a standard practice, we have not made public the information from a death investigation where there were no obvious signs of foul play.

We spoke with reporters from our local news syndicates, and they agreed that they would not run a story like this until all the facts were collected.

We have seen and read the posts on social media saying that the child was a victim of bullying.  We have been working closely with administrators and teachers from the school district from the initial call.  We have been unable to substantiate any of these allegations.

It is unfortunate that a select few have turned this family’s tragedy into an opportunity to get more social media followers or “likes.”  It is also inappropriate that many have chosen to share these posts without attempting to validate the information first.

To date, none of the people posting on social media have contacted the police department to provide information to assist us in our investigation.  We encourage those posting their speculations of bullying to contact the police department so that we can follow up on their information that they have been posting.

We encourage anyone with any information about this case to contact our investigators.  In the end, we want to give the family, the factual truth of what happened to their child. 

We appreciate those who have been patient, trusting us to conduct our investigation without fueling the speculation and hindering our process.” — Police Chief Don Melton, Webb City Police Dept

Earlier this week the Webb City School District  released a statement:

“The district has been asked by local media to provide information regarding the events that took place on May 5th that resulted in the death of one of our students. The Webb City School District responded by contacting local authorities, emergency personnel, and followed the District’s Crisis Plan. As part of the District’s Crisis Plan, Administration met with the parents’ representative on May 5th before releasing any information to staff and students. Counselors have been provided for staff and students who may need additional support. This is an ongoing investigation, and the district has and will continue to fully cooperate with the local authorities throughout the process.”

Joplin News First spoke to Webb City School’s Amanda Robbins and Webb City Police Chief Melton, long before these prepared statements.

We also spoke to Jasper County Coroner, Randy Nace, he told us initial results from the autopsy returned and there were no signs of foul play. More autopsy information is still anticipated as lab results take time.

As a news organization, we do not cover unattended death’s as a normal practice, especially in the case of a juvenile death.

This is a breaking news story, stay with Joplin News First on KOAM News Now as we continue to learn more. Scroll below to sign up for JLNews1st email alerts so you don’t miss a story.