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  • Last modified 29 days ago (Aug. 23, 2018)

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Alcohol may have played a role in death

Staff writer

A man found dead Aug. 12 next to railroad tracks east of Peabody had been headed for a new life in California, the mother of his half-sister said.

Darlene Clark said she knew her children’s half-brother, Timothy Pfeiffer, throughout his life.

Pfeiffer, 31, Greensburg, Indiana, had reportedly caused a disturbance as the train rolled westward through the night, and Amtrak contacted Newton police to have him removed from the train when it stopped at the station. Police didn’t find him on board, but found an open window in his compartment. Another passenger said he thought he’d seen someone jump from the train near Walton.

After a 7-hour search, Pfeiffer’s body was found 3½ miles east of Peabody where the train crosses Doyle Creek. He was identified by ID on his person.

Clark said Pfeiffer had had a difficult time dealing with the death of his father a year ago, and decided to move to California for a fresh start.

Pfeiffer didn’t handle alcohol well, she said. After too many drinks, he could become abusive.

Amtrak serves alcoholic beverages onboard trains in most dining cars, café, and lounge cars.

“My assumption is, he’d had too much to drink,” Clark said.

Clark said Pfeiffer would never have injured anyone, but had in the past been intoxicated and jailed.

It is unlikely to be known whether Clark’s assumption about alcohol being a factor in the incident is correct.

County coroner Don Hodson said a toxicology test was not done as part of the autopsy. Pfeiffer’s injuries were consistent with falling off the train and his death is listed as an accident, Hodson said.

If law enforcement officials discover something different, the cause of death could be changed later, he said.

“From everything we could gather, he just made a bad choice,” Hodson said. “I think he jumped off and didn’t expect it to happen.”

Clark said a funeral service was Friday in Westport, Indiana.

Pfeiffer’s sister, Rachel Pfeiffer Hayden of Port Orchard, Washington, declined to comment.

Last modified Aug. 23, 2018

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