The accidental death of a 10-year-old Dayton boy has stunned the Carson City area.
His father is a sheriff's deputy here, his mother works for the Carson City School District and the bubbly, ever-smiling student was a vital member of the fifth-grade class at Bordewich-Bray Elementary School.
Brandon Matthew Putzer was found with a power cord around his neck in his family's home Tuesday night. He was pronounced dead at Carson-Tahoe Hospital.
"The information we have is he was playing with a cord and possibly fell off his bunk bed," said Lt. John Arndell of the Lyon County Sheriff's Department. The investigation is ongoing. Arndell must still interview Brandon's grief-stricken mother and sister, who were home at the time and found the boy in his bedroom, he said.
"There is no evidence of abuse, and no evidence of foul play. This was just a boy who was not conscious and aware of the ramifications of the outcome of his actions. This was an accident," he said.
Carson City Sheriff Kenny Furlong said officers and staff are heartsick for Brandon's family: Deputy Matt Putzer, a 16-year-veteran of the department; mother, Lynette; and sister, Ashley, 12. His grandfather, Randy Putzer, retired from the Carson City Sheriff's Department as a sergeant.
"We're looking at a family that represents the city. They represent law enforcement, and they represent the school district. At the very core of this is a 10-year-old boy who is innocent," Furlong said. "This strikes at the heart of a family and devastates everybody."
Carson City School Superintendent Mary Pierczynski said Brandon's death was announced to Bordewich-Bray students Wednesday morning. Several teachers broke down in tears while reading the announcement to their classes.
In a letter sent home, Pierczynski said counselors and school psychologists were available for students, teachers and parents. She also noted children may express grief through curiosity, anger, isolation, fear, indifference and sadness.
"We suggest you listen to your children. If they seem to need to talk, answer their questions simply, honestly and possibly over and over again," she said.
During invocation at the Thursday morning Carson City supervisors meeting a moment of silence was observed and a prayer was said for the Putzer family.
"This is just sad," Sheriff Furlong said. "What a senseless tragedy."
Bordewich-Bray Principal Sue Keema said Brandon was a member of the school's jump rope club, a group that meets in the mornings before classes.
"He was perfect for it because he had a lot of spring," she said with a chuckle. "He was just full of life. When I'd see him walking down the hall, he was bubbly and smiling, and he was always very respectful to me as principal. I always got a 'Hi, Mrs. Keema' and a smile. He was also very creative in his thoughts. If the class was discussing something, he would have an insight that no one thought of."
Recently, Brandon was proud he'd finally mastered his math facts for his teacher, she said.
A memorial service will be held Saturday 4 p.m. at Carson Middle School, where Lynette Putzer is a secretary.
Brandon is survived by his parents; sister; maternal grandparents, Bonnie and Woody Woodward of Fernley; paternal grandparents, Randy and Nancy Putzer of Carson City; great-grandmothers Virginia Casilla of Santee, Calif., and Caryol Del Vecchio of Carson City; aunts Kristin Rupert of Carson City and Ginny Collier of Santee; and uncles Brian Putzer of Carson City and Gene Chesney of Holtville, Calif.
- Contact reporter F.T. Norton at email@example.com or 881-1213.