Plainfield teen dies after falling from 15th floor balcony in Panama City Beach, Fla.

Police don't suspect foul play

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. - Florida authorities say a 13-year-old boy from Indiana fell from a 15th-story balcony to his death while vacationing with his family.

A Panama City Beach Police Department news release said Zachary Dickman of Plainfield, Ind., died Saturday. The news release says the boy was vacationing with his mother and grandparents during spring break.

Police say the boy was checking out of a condominium tower with his family when he realized he'd left his phone in their room on the 15th floor. He went back to look for it but fell to the pool deck below somehow.

"Grandma waited for a few seconds and called his name. No answer. She went out and realized he fell off of the balcony," Panama City Beach Police Chief Drew Whitman said.

Since there were no witnesses, investigators don’t know how Dickman fell to the pool deck below. No foul play was suspected, but the death was under investigation.

Dickman’s Plainfield school issued a statement Monday saying that the 7th-grader was extremely smart, was on the honor roll, a band member and was well-liked. The statement went on to say that his death is a sobering tragedy for the school district.

Florida police said that balcony falls are not uncommon in resort areas. In March, a 62-year-old Texas man died in Panama City Beach after he fell from a 12th-story balcony.

"These are the things that police officers see that also affect them. They're fathers and they see this and it has a lot more of an effect than just spring break. It's a tragedy for everyone," Bay County Florida Sheriff Frank McKeithen said.

A family member said Dickman’s family is back home from Florida. Police are awaiting the results from an autopsy.

Follow Chris Proffitt on Twitter: @chrisproffitt

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