WICHITA, Kan. – A body struck by a train in Kansas early Monday was found unclothed and apparently had been tied to the tracks, a source told The Wichita Eagle on Thursday.

The Sumner County Sheriff’s Department is not saying whether it considers the death a homicide.

The body was positively identified Thursday as that of Jacob “Jake” Allen, 19, of rural Argonia, Kan., the sheriff’s department said. Argonia is about 40 miles southwest of Wichita, Kan.

Allen – popular and well-known – was valedictorian at Argonia High School. He graduated in May. His death has stunned the community. About 40 teenagers met with school counselors and ministers earlier this week to share their feelings about his death.

The Associated Press, citing railroad and law enforcement sources, said a train crew found Allen’s nude body near the tracks. His black shirt and red sweat pants also were found along the railroad line, AP reported, and he apparently had been tied with baling wire to the tracks.

Sumner County Sheriff Gerald Gilkey could not be reached for comment Thursday about the sources’ information.

Earlier Thursday, he declined to say whether investigators considered it a homicide case and said no one had been arrested. Investigators have been conducting interviews.

Authorities began investigating early Monday after a train reported striking something in the darkness on the track.

The rail section there is part of a main line between Chicago and Los Angeles.

, and trains often pass there every 20 to 30 minutes.

Gilkey said he realizes that the death has led to rumors but said he could not yet say more about the investigation.

“Let folks know that the rumors are just that,” he said.

“Let us do our jobs. Let us find the facts. Be patient.”

(c) 2004, The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.).

Visit the Eagle on the World Wide Web at http://www.wichitaeagle.com/

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

AP-NY-07-08-04 2102EDT

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