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Death outside Kansas City NFL stadium ruled homicide: police

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - A fan's death in a vehicle parked outside a Kansas City football stadium where a National Football League game was being played has been ruled a homicide, police said on Wednesday.

Investigators had been uncertain how Kyle Van Winkle, 30, died on Sunday, but a medical examiner ruled the death a homicide, Kansas City Police Sergeant Tye Grant said in a statement. That means the death was caused by another person, but does not necessarily amount to murder.

Van Winkle left during Sunday afternoon's game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos and returned to a vehicle that looked like the one he may have arrived in, but belonged to someone else, Grant said in an interview.

When the owner of the vehicle found Van Winkle inside he enlisted the help of some people in a nearby tailgate party to remove him, Grant said. A struggle took place and Van Winkle collapsed and later died, Grant said.

Police held four people for questioning, but they have been released pending further investigation, Grant said. The owner of the vehicle was not among those held, Grant said. No one involved in the case is in police custody at this time, he added.

There is no evidence that Van Winkle was in the vehicle to commit mischief, and may have simply mistaken it for another vehicle, the police sergeant said.

Van Winkle, lived in Smithville, Missouri, just north of Kansas City, and was married with a seven-week-old son, according to an obituary posted by the Mount Moriah Terrace Park Funeral Home. He was described as an avid follower of Kansas City and other Missouri sports teams. His funeral is on Friday.

(Reporting by Kevin Murphy; editing by David Bailey, G Crosse)

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