Charges were filed Tuesday, October 26, in Colorado, in the death of Audra Brownell, 17, a Cedar Springs High School student.
Audra, the daughter of Scott and Diane Brownell of Algoma Township, was on a backpacking trip with the Rockford Reformed church youth group on June 17, when she was struck by a falling rock in the town of Estes Park, Colorado. The incident took place in the Knoll-Willows open space area just off the town hall parking lot, where she and others were resting. The area is reportedly a “green space” with a creek running through it. A cliff rises above the area.
Emergency responders were on the scene immediately and Brownell was pronounced dead from her injuries. The Estes Park Police Department conducted a death investigation and interviewed numerous witnesses to the incident. The area was closed to the public immediately afterward but later reopened.
According to authorities from Estes Park, a male juvenile has been charged with manslaughter in the incident, a class four felony in Colorado. Because he is a juvenile, the District Attorney’s office would not release any other information regarding the suspect or what charges he might face.
Audra’s father, Scott, confirmed that he knew the allegations were coming, and said he does not know who the suspect is, but it was someone that Audra did not know. He noted that the suspect was there that day with his youth group from another state.
The Denver Post reported it was a 15-year-old from Texas, and the GR Press reported that the Larimer County District Attorney did not think the act was intentional and hoped to work out a plea bargain for the boy.
A court date has been set for November 5, 2010.
Audra had just finished her junior year at Cedar Springs High School when the accident occurred. Principal Ron Behrenwald said she was in the top ten in her class, and would have been section leader for the flutes in marching band this fall.