Vienna man in house explosion died of self-inflicted wounds

By Roxie Murphy, Staff Writer
Posted 9/28/22

VIENNA — Cause of death of a Vienna man thought to have died in a house explosion last week has now been ruled a suicide according to Maries County Sheriff’s Deputy Major Scott …

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Vienna man in house explosion died of self-inflicted wounds

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VIENNA — Cause of death of a Vienna man thought to have died in a house explosion last week has now been ruled a suicide according to Maries County Sheriff’s Deputy Major Scott John.

“What appears to have been an accidental propane explosion now appears to be a suicide,” John said on Tuesday afternoon. “All evidence in the investigation is pointing to suicide.”

Wayne Boeckman, 58, was at his residence located in the 11,000 block of Highway V in Vienna at 12:50 a.m. when a propane explosion occurred, causing a debris radius of about 100 square yards — the size of a football field. Emergency services were called out around 3 a.m. to reports from a Three Rivers lineman that a house had exploded in the area.

“We spent about three hours trying to confirm if he was in the residence,” John said. 

Emergency services were provided the phone number to Boeckman’s cellphone and the ringing could be heard within the debris, which confirmed the man was inside the residence and gave them idea of his location.

“Once we knew he was in the residence, we were certain it was a recovery, not a rescue,” John said. “Once we confirmed that he was in the residence, the fire department requested an excavator.”

Firemen located him at about 9:20 a.m. in the basement of the home and recalled the police. Rumors ensued that it was more than a propane explosion within a couple of hours.

“Yes, there was a gun shot wound to the head that appeared to be self-inflicted and the autopsy confirmed that it was,” John said. “There was a weapon next to the body, a 410 shotgun.”

Officials believe Boeckman died in the basement, where he was found laying face down. The gun was located between his legs.

“If he was upstairs he would have been blown clear of the residence,” John said. “It was believed to be an accident until we located Wayne.”

John said they are unsure of Boeckman’s time of death.

“We don’t know yet what caused the explosion or if there was a time lapse between the gun shot and the explosion or not,” John said. “There is no evidence showing that there is any fowl play involved.”

This is the third propane explosion in Maries County in the past two years.

“The two propane explosions in Maries County in the last two years have not led us to believe anything is wrong in the propane industry,” John said. “One appears to be an accident and the other appears to be intentional. It does not appear to have anything to do with the home construction or the company providing the propane. Neither explosion has to do with the tank, but propane being released inside of the residences. While the tank at the recent explosion was leaking, it was because of the explosion and the company picked up and disposed of the tank right away.”

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