The Clay County Coroner has ruled the death of Kyle Martinsen of rural Beresford as an accident, according to a Wednesday press release from Clay County Sheriff Andy Howe.

On June 22, Martinsen was found dead in his vehicle on a rural Clay County Road near Beresford. The vehicle was extensively burned and the fire had burned itself out prior to the discovery of the vehicle.

The South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation assisted the Clay County Sheriff in the investigation and assigned DCI and State Fire investigators to determine the origin of the fire. It was determined that the fire accidentally began inside the passenger compartment of the vehicle. Based on evidence found, it was suspected that the fire likely began due to a lit cigarette or cigarette lighter.

An autopsy was performed in Sioux Falls, SD on June 23. The autopsy determined that Martinsen died of smoke inhalation and thermal burns. DNA test results assisted investigators with the identification of the body as Martinsen. Based on the cause of death determination and the origin of the fire, the death was determined to have been an accidental death.


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