Body of Minn. man found in Atlanta Braves stadium freezer after getting trapped inside, police say
SMYRNA, Ga. -- Shortly after Atlanta police on Wednesday, June 27, identified the body found a day earlier inside a SunTrust Park baseball stadium beer freezer, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported the man was at the stadium to install new beer technology that is catching on around Major League Baseball parks.
According to multiple reports, the body found before Tuesday's game between the Braves and Cincinnati Reds was that of 48-year-old Todd Keeling of White Bear Lake, Minn. According to reports, a Cobb County police spokeswoman said an autopsy would be performed Wednesday in an effort to determine cause of death. Multiple reports also indicate police have no reason to suspect foul play at this time.
It was reported later Wednesday that Keeling is the inventor of Draftwell, a technology that was expected to cut down pour times from the tap at SunTrust from an average of 14 seconds to five. Keeling's aunt, Fran Kuchta, said that police believed Keeling got stuck in the freezer and could not get out.
A co-worker found his body in the cooler before Tuesday’s game between the Braves and Cincinnati Reds.
The game between the Braves and Reds went on as scheduled Tuesday after the body was found at 3:30 p.m. local time. The teams also played a matinee on Wednesday
According to Kuchta, Keeling had been working on his technology since college. According to U.S. patent records, Keeling filed for a patent in November 2014 for "a new nozzle for a beer valve tap and a new foamless beer tap dispensing system. The new nozzle is longer, has a small bent and end openings for a more precise release of beer from the outlet of the spout."
In a Atlanta newspaper story published Monday, the company which manages food and beverage service at SunTrust Park said that the Draftwell taps installed at the Minnesota Twins' Target Field increased keg yield from 87 to 94 percent. Kuchta said the new taps are also in use at the Chicago White Sox's Guaranteed Rate Field.
According to Kuchta, Keeling's teenage sons helped him install the system at SunTrust Park but left a few days ago. Keeling was there to finish up the installation.
Delaware North, which provides food and beverage services at SunTrust Park and Target Field, released a statement Wednesday saying the company is “deeply saddened” by Keeling’s death.
“He was a kind friend who dedicated his life to elevating the draft beer experience,” the statement said. “We salute his passion and dedication to revolutionizing the beverage industry. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration spokesman Michael D’Aquino said the agency is investigating the death.
SunTrust Park is located northwest of Atlanta, near Smyrna, Ga.