OWATONNA — The death of a Michigan man on the midway of the Steele County Free Fair Friday morning is being investigated as a suicide, the Steele County Sheriff said Friday.

Officers from the sheriff’s office were called to one of the rides on the southeast corner of the midway shortly before 9 a.m. Friday for a report of an unresponsive person, said Sheriff Lon Thiele. The man, identified as William A. Aiken Jr., 29, was found hanging from the ride by one of the employees of Gold Star Amusement.

The body was under a canvas and could not be seen from outside. Nor was the fair or the midway open at the time the body was discovered, the sheriff said.

Though Aiken was from Michigan and was reportedly “helping” someone at the fair, he was not an employee of Gold Star, Thiele said.

Aiken’s body was taken to the medical examiner in Rochester for an autopsy. His death remains under investigation, though no foul play is suspected, the sheriff said.

“The sheriff’s office would to extend our thoughts and prayers to his family during this tragic time,” said Thiele.

Reach Managing Editor Jeffrey Jackson at 444-2371 or follow him on Twitter @OPPJeffrey.

Jeffrey Jackson is the managing editor of the Owatonna People's Press. He can be reached at 507-444-2371 or via email at jjackson@owatonna.com

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