By Shereen Siewert

MARATHON — Police say a man whose body was discovered hidden in a motel closet died of a heroin overdose months before he was found.

The announcement comes nearly a  month after the body of Brian J. Kienast, 28, was discovered at the Village Inn in Marathon. Police were called April 19 to the scene by the motel owner, who found Kienast’s body.

In a news release issued Friday, police said Kienast likely died on or around Nov. 22, 2017, possibly the same day he was reported missing from his Adams County home. According to toxicology results, Kienast died of a suspected accidental heroin overdose.

“There were no other injuries or trauma to Kienast that would indicate otherwise,” the release states.

Police believe Kienast’s body was hidden in the closet after he died in an effort to hide him. The closet is on an exterior wall which was one factor in the relatively good condition of Kienast’s body. The hotel room was unoccupied for the winter months.

Investigators are taking a closer look at “several individuals” as persons of interest in the investigation, but have not released any names. Two of those people are in custody on unrelated charges, police said.

Marathon Police Chief Korey Gertschen requested the assistance of the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office.  Also assisting in this investigation are the Marathon County Medical Examiner’s Office, Wisconsin State Patrol Technical Reconstruction Unit, and the Wisconsin State Crime Lab.

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