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Coroner: Genoa farmer suffocated in grain bin

Published: Monday, May 12, 2014 3:26 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, May 12, 2014 4:17 p.m. CDT

SYCAMORE – Leon Madey, 72, died within minutes of falling into corn in a grain bin May 5 at his farm in rural Genoa, DeKalb County Coroner Dennis Miller said.

An autopsy performed last week 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. May 5.

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. May 5. 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.

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

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