Death was caused by accidental electrocution. We knew this the day after his body was found because the Tippecanoe Co. Coroner announced this finding before a medical examination of Steffey's body had been completed. Toxicology results show his blood alcohol level was greater than .08 but less than a lethal level, whatever that's supposed to mean. If the toxicology report indicates a blood alcohol level, then just tell us what it was--not that it was more than the legal limit but less than a lethal level. It's surprising they could even make that finding after his body went unnoticed for two months. The autopsy was conducted by Dr. Allen Griggs. He is a part-time pathologist who doubles as a personal injury attorney in Martinsville and has been contracted by the Marion Co. Coroner's office to assist Dr. Joye Carter with autopsies.
The report finds nothing unusual about the failure of a Purdue staff member to discover Steffey's body days after he disappeared by opening an interior door, turning on an interior light and looking into the room. Steffey's shoe was found outside the vault in the pit two days later by a volunteer worker but police did not make a connection to Steffey's disappearance. The report skips over the fact that his body was discovered two months later after students returning from spring break heard a cracking noise coming from the room. I guess the electrical current didn't really get fired up until two months later, given the maintenance worker neither heard nor smelled anything unusual when he originally checked the room.
I encourage you to read the report. It's as convincing as the Warren Commission Report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
UPDATE: Toxicology experts tell the Lafayette Journal Courier the blood alcohol level claim is suspect. It reports:
Two other toxicology experts, not involved in the Steffey case or with the Rimkus report, agreed. Michael Evans, president and chief executive officer of the American Institute of Toxicology Laboratories in Indianapolis, said a body, particularly one that has not been discovered for nine weeks, can produce alcohol after death.
"The blood-alcohol level obtained at the time of autopsy may not reflect the blood-alcohol at the time of death. You have to take those things into account before you start making a statement," Evans said.
"Maybe there are other explanations for the alcohol being present in the blood, like fermentation or contamination."
Tim Eastly, adjunct professor of chemistry and environmental technology at Youngstown State and Kent State universities in Ohio, said it is very difficult to approximate blood-alcohol results from a person dead that long.
"After nine weeks, I would hold those alcohol results highly suspect," he said. "At autopsy, it's rather tricky for an autopsy technician to get an uncontaminated sample. If there is trauma to where the pulmonary cavity may have been interrupted or torn, it could very well be that some of the alcohol could have been contributed by microbes in the digestive track."