Classmates, community mourn death of 15-year-old
Benjamin Pelzel’s body was discovered about 11 p.m. Wednesday, May 5 in a field near his County Road 306 home.
Sheriff David Gre ene told The Repo Pelzel’s body was discovered hanging from a tree.
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.
Dunsmoor said there would be no official ruling in the death, and no more details would be released, until autopsy reports were received.
“That could be a matter of weeks,” he said.
Dunsmoor said foul play is not suspected.
Family members became concerned about the teen after he failed to return to 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.
“At this time there is not any indication of bullying that has been associated with this death,” Dr. Howell Wright, Rockdale ISD superintendent said.
“Rockdale ISD does not accept or tolerate bullying and we will intervene appropriately,” Dr. Wright said.
“We are saddened by the death of one of our students and we support the family, our staff and our students at this time of grief,” he said.
Counselors and local pastors were available at the high school and junior-high on Thursday and Friday.
Several school events were cancelled or are being re-scheduled including a planned concert by the high school choir at the Richards Memorial Hospital Assisted Living Center on Thursday.
The Big Blue Band’s planned spring trip to Houston and Galveston, which was to have been Friday and Saturday was postponed until this weekend.
Pelzel was a band member.
Peace Lutheran’s sanctuary was filled to overflowing at the Saturday funeral and many mourners stood in the halls around the sanctuary.
Rev. Jan Campbell, pastor, remembered Pelzel as a creative teenager who manifested his talents in music and by writing and drawing stories.
He played the fiddle, guitar and coronet.
Pel zel had ser ved Peac e Lutheran as an acolyte and lector.
Scores of mourners accompanied the body to Bushdale Cemetery after the service.
See obituary, page 6C.