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Coroner: Genoa farmer suffocated in grain bin

Published: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 10:03 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 10:57 p.m. CDT
Members of DeKalb Fire climb a truck ladder to repel into the grain bin at Madey Farm on Monday, May 5, 2014. An hours-long rescue effort involving numerous fire and police agencies from across Northern Illinois ended with the recovery of the body of Genoa farmer Leon Madey. Authorities said Madey, 73, was found inside a 30,000-bushel grain bin on his property at 35770 Genoa Road, between Melms and Hill roads near Genoa. Danielle Guerra - dguerra@shawmedia.com

SYCAMORE – Leon Madey, 72, died within minutes of falling into corn in a grain bin Monday at his farm in rural Genoa, DeKalb County Coroner Dennis Miller said Tuesday.

An autopsy performed Tuesday showed Madey died of asphyxiation, Miller said.

"The pressure of the corn would not let him breathe, too much pressure on his torso," Miller said.

Madey and his son, who authorities did not identify, were trying to dislodge a hardened layer of corn from inside the bin on Madey's farm at 35770 Genoa Road, when the son walked away from the bin for an undetermined amount of time, authorities said. When he returned, Madey was gone. The son called police at 12:44 p.m. Monday.

More than 100 firefighters and rescue personnel helped empty the bin and rappel inside to find Madey, whose body they discovered in a standing position about 4:15 p.m. Monday. He was six to seven feet from the bottom.

Madey was a lifelong farmer and also was a volunteer firefighter with the Genoa-Kingston Fire Department for 20 years, retiring about 10 years ago, fire Chief Bruce Kozlowski said Monday.

“He was a great guy,” Kozlowski said Monday. “A hard worker, good farmer, good firefighter.”

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