Blunt force did not kill wrestler, 33, report says Man died in Ocean City

full autopsy is incomplete

August 28, 1996|By Dail Willis | Dail Willis,SUN STAFF

Blunt-force injuries did not cause the death of a professional wrestler during an encounter with Ocean City police officers, according to a preliminary autopsy report released yesterday.

In a two-sentence news release, Worcester County State's Attorney Joel J. Todd cited an oral report by the state medical examiner in the death of Neil Caricofe, 33, of Hagerstown. Caricofe, who was staying at the Fenwick Inn in Ocean City, died early Friday in the hotel parking lot while surrounded by officers.

Richard Caricofe, the dead man's father, said Sunday that the director of the funeral home where the body was taken told him that his son had some head injuries. But the senior Caricofe said he was told by a state trooper that the injuries were sustained when Caricofe ran into a vending machine while eluding officers.

Todd could not say when the final autopsy report, which will include the results of toxicology tests, would be complete. The state medical examiner's office has estimated that final results will take at least a week.

No charges have been filed in the death, Todd said yesterday, and police spokesman Jay Hancock said no officers have been reassigned or disciplined as a result of the incident.

The Worcester County Bureau of Investigation, a county agency that includes officers from the Maryland State Police, Sheriff's Office and Worcester municipalities (Ocean City is not represented), is conducting an independent inquiry into the death.

Officers were summoned to the hotel after receiving a complaint that a naked man was roaming the seventh floor. When officers arrived about 4: 30 a.m., they tried to subdue Caricofe with batons and pepper spray but were unsuccessful, Hancock said.

The wrestler, who was 6 feet, 4 inches and weighed 267 pounds, eluded officers and ran outside, where he was surrounded by officers trying to handcuff him when he collapsed.

His family said last week that Caricofe was prone to seizures that rendered him unable to communicate and made him sleepwalk. He was receiving medical treatment for the seizures, said his mother, Pat Caricofe.

Neil Caricofe worked at the Central Laundry, part of the state corrections system, his mother said. He ran a professional wrestling school in Hagerstown.

Caricofe's funeral was held yesterday at Christ Lutheran Church in Hagerstown, said a representative of Gerald N. Minnich Funeral Home.

Family members could not be reached for comment.

Pub Date: 8/28/96

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