Boy Killed in Fall From Sky, D.A. Says

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According to a Massachusetts prosecutor, strong evidence proves a North Carolina teenager whose body was found in a Boston suburb last month was a stowaway inside the landing gear of a plane.

Sixteen-year-old Delvonte Tisdale's body was discovered on the lawn of a suburban home in Milton, Massachusetts the evening of November 15th. When found, Tisdale had broken arms and legs and his remains were found scattered in two different places.

An autopsy found no clear sign of death, but the body was found directly below a flight path to Logan International Airport.

At a news conference on Friday, Norfolk County district attorney William R. Keating said authorities discovered handprints in the left wheel well of a Boeing 737 that had departed Charlotte Douglas International Airport for Boston the day the boy's body was found, as well as clothing matching a description given by Tisdale's family along the flight path. A plastic card--the type used to get into a hotel room--was also found, shattered.

"The altitudes were very high, and it gets very cold," Keating said. "That card was shattered into such tiny pieces that it was consistent with something that had been frozen and shattered."

One Milton resident reported hearing a large thump outside his home around 9 p.m., just minutes before the plane landed.

Keating said federal and state authorities are continuing the investigation.

"It's a terrible tragedy what happened to this young man, but if that was someone with a different motive," he said, "if that was a terrorist that could have been a bomb that was planted, undetected. This is very serious."

"I suspect," he said, "that there will be a lot of scrutiny into this."

Federal Aviation Administration records show there have been 63 flights carrying wheel-well stowaways since 1996, some of them with multiple people. Sixty of the stowaways died while 12 survived.

Photo, Eric Kilby, flickr.

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