Autopsy shows Ryals may have died from medical condition

Mary Rumore
Staff Writer

Investigators with the West Point Police Department are continuing to investigate the death of David Ryals on July 9.
A statement by WPPD Police Chief Tim Brinkley said an autopsy was performed early yesterday morning at the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Jackson, and a preliminary report has revealed that Ryals’s preexisting medical conditions was determined to be a contributing factor in his death. It was further noted that the autopsy procedure did not reveal any signs of blunt force trauma or other factors that would have caused his death.
Brinkley said Nicholas Phyfer, 25, of 288 East Street, West Point, and Kaylee Rhea, 22, of 9377 Baker Road, Prairie, are currently under investigation in connection with the death of Ryals., and although they were initially held in the Clay County Jail on pending murder charges, they were not officially charged pending the report from the State Medical Examiner.
Brinkley said Rhea was released yesterday after investigators started piecing together what actually occurred at the scene, and Phyfer is being held at the detention center on an unrelated charge.
“We knew there were many extenuating circumstances but now that we’ve heard from the Medical Examiner’s Office, we lack sufficient evidence that their actions caused the death of Mr. Ryals,” Brinkley said.
This crime is still under investigation and anyone with information is asked to call Golden Triangle Crime Stoppers at 800-530-7151 or WPPD at 494-1244.
See future editions of Daily Times Leader, or visit, for further updates.