COLUMBIA - Columbia Police said Wednesday they are waiting on the autopsy of 17-year-old James Hickem to determine the cause of his death. Sergent Jill Schlude said Hickem had an encounter with the police Friday night at Cosmo Park after someone called the police to complain about teenagers drinking and smoking at the Cosmo's skate park.
Upon police arrival, Schlude said Hickem admitted to having alcohol with him. Schlude said when police attempted to escort Hickem to their vehicle, he fled. Schlude said police ran after Hickem but were unable to catch him, and searched the park for 30-40 minutes before speaking with park officials. Later, Schlude said police discovered Hickem had trespassing violations with the park and decided they could put out a warrant for another trespassing violation.
Schlude said Tuesday afternoon police were called to Boone Quarry to investigate a possible dead body, a body later identified as Hickem. Schlude said police are treating Hickem's death as a homicide to ensure they preserve as much evidence as possible. The quarry is located directly behind Cosmo Park and Hickem's path could have led him to the quarry. Schlude said police have notified Hickem's family and are waiting for the medical exam to come back in a few days to further the investigation.