Hit-and-run not likely in Noah Presgrove’s death, raising more questions

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — An autopsy report casts doubt on theories that 19-year-old Noah Presgrove may have been hit by a vehicle before being found dead along a rural highway last fall—leading to more questions for his family.

Presgrove was found dead, lying along the side of US-81 near Terral, after attending a Labor Day party with friends in September 2023.

Medical examiner: Noah Presgrove died from ‘blunt force injuries’

News 4 previously reported an initial medical examiner’s report said Presgrove—whose legal last name is Nichols—died from “multiple blunt force injuries.”

In the initial report, the medical examiner marked the manner of Presgrove’s death as “undetermined”—meaning they could not decide if Presgrove’s death was a homicide, suicide, accident or natural.

On Monday, News 4 obtained a copy of the medical examiner’s official autopsy report, which shares many more details about the condition in which Noah was found.

The report says a truck driver discovered Noah’s body along the southbound lane of US-81 just before 6 a.m. on September 4, 2023.

Presgrove’s family previously told News 4 they heard Noah was found naked, only wearing two mismatching shoes.

The autopsy report confirms that.

“He was naked and was only wearing unmatching shoes,” the report says.

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It also says investigators found several other objects near Presgrove’s body.

“There was a pair of shorts found several feet from [Presgrove’s body] and was reported to be his,” the report says. “Additionally, there were three pieces of a white metal chain as well as part of a tooth present several feet from [Presgrove’s body]. Also, there was a clump of hair found within one of the lanes of the highway several feet from [Presgrove’s body]. Additionally, a clump of hair was observed on the right buttock without blood or tissue.”

Initially after Presgrove’s body was discovered, investigators with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) considered a theory that Presgrove may have been walking along the highway and hit and killed by a vehicle.

But the newly released autopsy report casts doubt on that theory, saying investigators didn’t find any evidence they would typically expect to find on the scene of a hit-and-run.

“There were no vehicle parts or debris observed on the scene,” The autopsy report says. “At this time, what transpired on how the body was found on the road having multiple blunt force injuries is unknown. Therefore, the manner of death is deemed undetermined.”

The report says Presgrove had a blood-alcohol-content level of 0.14 at the time the medical examiner performed the autopsy.

It says Presgrove had been involved in a rollover ATV accident at the party he attended the night before his body was discovered, but indicates the accident is not what killed Presgrove.

“[Presgrove] was at a house party and drinking on September 3, 2023,” the autopsy report says. “Then he rode an ATV ranger vehicle with several men that had a roll over incident. The decedent was alive following the incident and returned to the party where he got into an argument with his girlfriend. The decedent left the house party and was not found until the morning of September 4, 2023, on the side of the highway.”

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Presgrove’s older sister, Madison Rawlings, told News 4 the autopsy report leaves her with more questions than she had before reading it.  

“It’s so bizarre for sure,” Rawlings said. “Is this like too out of the realm of possibility? Am I thinking too hard about it? Am I, you know, not seeing something?”

She said, with each passing development of the past eight months, her life feels more and more like the plot of a TV true-crime drama.

“When you see those TV shows you're like, that can't be me, that's a fake, it's TV,” Rawlings said. “I guess until you're there, you don't really realize that it could happen to anybody. And it can. You don't know how you're going to react until you're in it.”

She told News 4 it feels like all the most plausible explanations for what happened to Noah keep getting ruled out.

“He wasn't hit by a vehicle, so I mean, I guess it puts you at ease,” she said. “But then I would love to know, okay, well, what caused these injuries?”

She believes there is no way Noah could have ended up in the condition he was found without someone else being involved.

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“How he ended up there? We have no idea,” Rawlings said. “But what happened to him didn't happen there. I just don't know what could be the likely story.”

Presgrove knows someone out there knows the answer to all her questions. She can’t wrap her head around why they won’t come forward and give her family closure.

“Really, I truly feel that my heart, that somebody knows exactly what happened to him,” she said. “I just really wish that somebody would speak up and give us something to just help get this closed.”

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