ARLINGTON, Vt. -- A teenager has been charged with a felony after taking a gun from the body of a man who is believed to have committed suicide beside a road, police said last week.
The youth, Timothy Butler, 19, discovered the body of the man, Charles Young, a former principal at a local middle school, on the night of May 14 in Arlington, police said.
The facts in the case pointed to suicide, except that investigators could not find the gun, said Lieutenant David Covell, a detective with the Vermont State Police who works from the Rutland barracks.
Police said they knew that Young had bought the .38-caliber revolver on the day of the suicide, and that he had been depressed, Covell said.
An autopsy appeared to confirm that the death was a suicide, authorities said.
Police, seeking the weapon, suspected Butler, who had called police about discovering the body. Authorities also checked another person who had passed by the body, and teens from a nearby party, Covell said.
Butler said he had taken the gun; he handed it over when police questioned him at his home, authorities said.
Butler found Young's body while he was out with his family searching for a lost relative, police said. He took the gun before calling police.
Butler, 19, is due to appear in Bennington District Court on July 12 to answer charges of petty larceny and impeding a police officer, a felony that carries a maximum sentence of three years and a $500 fine, Covell said.
Young was principal of the Catamount and Bennington Elementary schools in Bennington during a 14-year career in that district.
He resigned from Bennington Elementary in March 2001 to go to Seabrook, N.H.
He was principal of Seabrook Middle School from the start of the 2001 school year through last June, when he resigned.