Rockdale teen found dead near home
Rockdale’s schools and community are mourning the death of a 15-year RHS freshman whose body was discovered in a pasture near his home Wednesday night.
Benjamin Pelzel was pronounced dead at the scene by Justice of the Peace Chip Dunsmoor who performed an inquest at the scene and ordered an autopsy.
Sheriff David Greene said the teen's body was hanging from a tree. Dunsmoor said foul play is not suspected and more information will be released after autopsy results are received in several weeks.
Family members became concerned about the teen after he failed to return to his County Road 306 home after a walk about 6:30 p.m.
The body was found by a Rockdale Volunteer Fire Department member about 11 p.m. Wednesday.
“We weren’t officially toned out for the search but Tra Muston was helping look for Benjamin and he’s the one who found him,” Fire Chief Warren Matous said.
Thursday was a day of mourning at Rockdale schools. Grief counselors were brought to the high school and elementary campuses and the death impacted school activities with some athletic events rescheduled.
A planned Thursday concert by the RHS Choir at the Richards Memorial Hospital Assisted Living Center was canceled and will be rescheduled.
Pelzel was a member of the RHS Big Blue Band. The band’s spring trip to Houston and Galveston, planned for Friday and Saturday, was canceled.
Funeral services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Peace Lutheran Church with visitation 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Phillips & Luckey Funeral Home.