Local High School Star Athlete Found Dead

courtesy: Van Zandt News
courtesy: Van Zandt News

A tragic story out of Van Zandt County, where a star, high school athlete was found dead late Monday afternoon. 18 year old Austin Dixon was supposed to be at baseball practice last night, and when he didn't call his coach, Jason Seale new something was wrong.  It was shortly after practice that Coach Seale found out what happened.  Austin's mother, Van Zandt County District Attorney Leslie Poynter Dixon, had found his body lying on the bathroom floor of their home.

"I talked to his Dad," Coach Seale said, "and his Dad explained to me what happened.  I didn't know how to react to it.  It's something I've never had to deal with."

With no signs of trauma or foul play, Austin's body was immediately taken to Dallas for an autopsy.  Early this morning, the cause of death was finally determined.  He had a Berry Aneurysm in his brain that ruptured.

"Immediately there's an unconsciousness that takes affect," explained Van Zandt County Precinct 2, Place 1 Justice of the Peace Ronnie Daniell, who performed the inquest.  "There's no pain, and the result is eminent death."

The news spread quickly through Edgewood High School, where Austin was the starting quarterback on the football team, and star pitcher on the baseball team.  He was an honor student and very popular classmate.

"It's sad," said the manager of the nearby Edgewood Exxon & Grill, who the kids called MeMe.  She has a daughter in his class.  "He's going to be missed a lot in the community.  Everybody loved him here."

"He had a great sense of humor," recalled Edgewood High School principal Kristin Prater.  "The kids liked him, the teachers liked him.  He was a handful.  He was great."

Coach Seale said Austin had several colleges looking at him to play baseball.  He hoped to end up at the University of Oklahoma, a school he had always loved.  If his awards over the last two seasons had anything to do with it, Austin was well on his way.  He was first team All District and All Academic, as well as Van Zandt County Pitcher of the Year his sophomore season.  He was first team All District and All Academic his junior season as well.  He was a member of the National Honor Society, an Honor Graduate, and a member of the FFA.

"He was one of those kids that was going to be successful in whatever it was," Seale said.  "He had a high drive. He excelled in the classroom, he excelled in athletics. He's just a great kid, you know? If you had a son, that's what you'd want him to be."

Funeral arrangements are pending at Hiett's Lybrand Funeral Home in Wills Point.  His parents plan to bury him in his baseball uniform.

Kevin Berns reporting.