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Cause burglar’s death not yet officially determined

PHILIPSBURG--Investigations by a coroner into the death of a man who died during an attempted burglary of a home in Oyster Pond on Tuesday are still inconclusive, Prosecutor Tineke Kamps said Friday.

Together with two other suspects, the man had attempted to burglarize a home in Oyster Pond. He was caught and restrained by tourists, who held him awaiting the arrival of the police. The other suspects escaped.

According to the victims the man had resisted vigorously, while two other suspects had tried to free him by throwing stones at the victims, but did not succeed. After a while, the restrained suspect stopped resisting and remained lying on the ground. When investigating police officers checked on him, he was not showing any signs of life. Dr. Mike Mercuur pronounced the man's death on the scene later.

The body was confiscated to determine the exact cause of death. Prosecutor Kamps confirmed that an autopsy had taken place on Thursday, but said the results of the investigation were "very complicated."

"This means that additional investigations will have to take place. The final results may, therefore, take weeks, if not months," said Prosecutor Kamps.

It is not yet clear what the nature of the additional investigations will be or where these are to take place. "On-island investigations may already provide enough clarity," said Kamps.

Because the investigation into the cause of death has not yet been finalized, there is also no clarity concerning the question whether the incident constituted a crime or not. "Therefore, the Prosecutor's Office cannot make a decision as yet about the possible prosecution of suspects," said Kamps.

The tourists were questioned as suspects and have provided statements to the police, but they were not held or arrested, the Prosecutor said.

The Prosecutor's Office declined to provide or confirm any information concerning the dead suspect's identity. The Prosecutor declined to provide any further information, as the investigation in the attempted burglary is still ongoing.

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