On Wednesday, Jan. 29 at about 7 p.m., 911 dispatchers received a call about a missing Great Bend man who had not returned from work. At about 7:30 p.m. Barton County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to the 500 block of SE. 70th Rd. This location is on the Barton Stafford/County line on the Dartmouth blacktop.
Upon arrival Sheriff’s deputies located the missing subject. Investigation indicated Laverne Brown, age 88 of Great Bend, was working on an oil lease at that location. It appears Brown was attempting to repair a leak.
Brown was pronounced deceased at the scene by Barton County Corner Dr. Stan Hateshol.
The Sheriff’s Office suspects Brown may have been overcome by hydrogen sulfide gas. Hydrogen sulfide, commonly known as H2S is a toxic substance that is byproduct of oil and natural gas production. Hydrogen sulfide is common in the oilfields of central Kansas. The location tested positive for H2S.
The Sheriff’s Office is a continuing the investigation and awaiting autopsy results that is scheduled for later today.