DES MOINES, Iowa —
Des Moines police said Tuesday that they are investigating the suspicious death of a 17-year-old Lincoln High School student.
The Des Moines Police Department said Pascaline Uwizeyimana was found dead Saturday morning outside a mobile home park along County Line Road.
Des Moines resident Ray Darner spotted a Uwizeyimana lying just feet away from his home in the Southridge Estate.
Darner said he had one thought running through his head at the time.
“Don’t let this be me finding this boy that I can’t do anything for,” he said.
Darner called 911 knowing it was too late but said he stayed with Uwizeyimana until medics arrived.
“This kid was probably trying to get home where he felt safe or he could get some help to fix whatever was going on, and he just didn’t make it,” Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek said.
Parizek said investigators learned that Uwizeyimana may have been drinking alcohol prior to his death, but that they are waiting for an autopsy to confirm that.
Until then, he said authorities are left with two questions.
“One — how he came across alcohol at that age? And two — how he ended up unsupervised and basically abandoned in the snow?” Parizek said.
Darner said he wished he could have done more to help Uwizeyimana.
“You think all kinds of things, like if you’d gone out there earlier, if you’d heard something at night, maybe you could of done something for the kid,” Darner said.
He said that Sunday morning will stick with him for a long time.
“I was worried the night of that I would be thinking of it all night, and I did,” Darner said. “It’s really sad.”
Police said witnesses are cooperating with the investigation but that they are still trying to confirm what happened in the hours leading up to Uwizeyimana’s death.