BCA, MPD continue investigation into incident at LEC

MARSHALL – The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s investigation into an Aug. 31 incident at the Lyon County Law Enforcement Center where a man died inside a parked Lyon County Sheriff’s Office squad car continues, the BCA said Monday.

According to the BCA’s preliminary investigation, 52-year-old Raul Bautista-Avalos came to the Marshall Police Department around 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 31 appearing highly intoxicated and requesting a ride home. He was told to wait in the lobby area where an officer would come speak to him, the BCA said. When the officer arrived a few minutes later, Bautista-Avalos had left the police department.

Around 4:45 p.m. that day, a Lyon County Sheriff’s Office deputy found Bautista-Avalos dead in the front seat, the BCA said. The investigation suggests Bautista-Avalos left the police department and entered the vehicle, which was parked at the back of the parking lot, through an unlocked back door. When Bautista-Avalos was unable to reopen the back door, it is thought that he climbed through a 1-by-1 foot window in the Plexiglass barrier to the front seat where he was later located.

Investigators do not suspect foul play.

The medical examiner said Bautista-Avalos’ death appeared to be accidental.

Lyon County Sheriff Mark Mather said Monday that squad cars are normally locked when left unattended in the parking lot. This particular vehicle, he said, had been having mechanical problems.

“The reason the vehicle was in the parking lot was because it had mechanical issues,” he said. “The protocol with the vehicles is that they’re almost always locked.”

Mather said it’s uncommon for a squad car to be left in the parking lot overnight; normally, deputies takes their assigned squad home, he said.

The BCA is conducting its investigation with assistance from the Marshall Police Department.