The death of a Brazil man who recently died during an arrest has generated public interest in a rare condition called Excited Delirium Syndrome (EDS).
Pathologist Dr. Roland M. Kohr performed the autopsy at Terre Haute Regional Hospital earlier this week.
In a telephone interview Tuesday morning, he said that it has been used as a diagnosis for several years now, but not much research has been done on the rare condition.
"EDS can happen anytime during the first hour after their (a suspect's) arrest," Kohr said about the condition he has studied. "In my 20 years of personal practice, this is the first time EDS has occurred during an actual arrest."
Thousands of suspects are routinely subdued by police officers in physical struggles, sometimes including being pepper-sprayed, with no permanent ill effects. It takes the right combination of factors for EDS to occur.
While by themselves, these factors rarely cause people to suddenly fall dead. But a person in poor physical shape in a heightened state of agitation, suffering from substance abuse, stress and extreme physical exertion is a prime candidate to fall victim to the syndrome.
It is this combination of stressful events in certain individuals that causes their hearts to simply stop beating. Kohr said they are literally "scared to death."
"But without physically monitoring the heart activity or gauging the body temperature of a person, it is difficult to recognize a person experiencing EDS," he said.
While the autopsy results at this time are still preliminary, Kohr said Bradley E. Karn II did have a deadly combination of morbid obesity, drug usage, stress and extreme physical exertion occur at the moment of his arrest.
After evading several law enforcement agencies during a high speed chase originating in Brazil and ending near Cloverdale on I-70, Karn struggled with officers during the arrest attempt. He stopped breathing once handcuffed and was later pronounced dead at Putnam County Hospital late Friday evening.
Kohr's autopsy report indicated that Karn also tested positive for Methamphetamine, THC and alcohol. The preliminary cause of death is noted as accidental, but the investigation into the incident continues by Indiana State Police.
Officials expect it to be completed within the week, with a final report of the investigation to be given to Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter for review at a future date.