Nearly four months after former Texas State Champion wrestler Dammion Heard was found dead in Colorado, authorities have finally released his cause of death. According to the Gunnison Police Department, an autopsy shows that Dammion committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree.
In a statement, Gunnison police detective Chris Danos said the toxicology report showed the presence of LSD and marijuana in Dammion's system.
"At this point in the death investigation, the Gunnison Police Department has no evidence or direct information that would contradict the pathologist's findings," Danos said, adding that the case remains "open and active."
"Call it what you will — doctored results or falsified reports — it's not the truth. I know that," Gary Heard says.
Dammion's father, Gary Heard, strongly disputes the characterization that his son's death was self-inflicted or that he was on drugs. Gary has hired his own team of private investigators and attorneys and has raised a $25,000 reward for information on what he calls Dammion's murder.
Dammion was a state champion wrestler at Fossil Ridge High School in Keller. His family still lives in the area.
The 20-year-old's body was found about eight miles outside of Gunnison on Bureau of Land Management property on April 2. He had been missing since March 29. According to Gary, Dammion was last seen at a party where he argued with fellow wrestlers from Western State Colorado University.
Gary says his forensic pathologist did extensive toxicology testing and did not find any presence of drugs in Dammion's system. "It showed the toxicology of an athlete, of someone who cares about his body and his life."
Nevertheless, Gary wasn't surprised by the news out of Gunnison. "I've known for months that they were going to say he was on drugs and he killed himself. I think it is completely bogus."
"Call it what you will — doctored results or falsified reports — it's not the truth. I know that," Gary says.
Within days of Dammion's death, Gary says that authorities in Gunnison had already made up their minds about the case. "They've been saying suicide since the second they showed up. Suicides are easy. It's one less homicide in your town to investigate."
Although there is an official cause of death, the case is far from closed. Gunnison PD has submitted several items for forensic testing at the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, and the department is still seeking witnesses who may have been in the area at the time of Dammion's death.
Police are asking anyone who was in the Cabin Creek area of Colorado between May 30 and April 2 to contact 970-641-8202, even if they don't believe they saw anything related to Dammion's case.
"The death investigation remains open and active at this time," Det. Danos said.