No charges in sixth-graders' liquor deaths
Thursday, April 15, 2004 Posted: 4:24 PM EDT (2024 GMT)
POLSON, Montana (AP) -- Authorities will not bring charges in the deaths of two sixth-graders whose frozen bodies were found in a snowy field after they guzzled large amounts of vodka, investigators said Wednesday.
The sheriff's department investigated suspicions that an adult supplied the liquor to Justin Benoist and Frankie Nicolai III, both 11. But authorities have closed the case after failing to find any evidence to charge anyone, the department said Wednesday.
Almost from the time their bodies were found March 1, there were claims the boys may have stolen the liquor from area homes. "We cannot disprove that at this point," detective Jay Doyle said.
Alcohol poisoning killed Frankie, whose blood-alcohol level was 0.50 percent, more than six times the drunken-driving threshold in Montana. Justin, whose blood-alcohol level was 0.20 percent, died from a combination of alcohol poisoning and hypothermia.
The deaths stunned people in this rural area of Montana and beyond. The boys went missing after they skipped afternoon classes at Ronan Middle School on February 27. Another boy found their bodies three days later.