Freak Accident Takes Father’s Life, Leaves Teens Wounded After Finding Grenade

On Saturday, May 20, 2023, a family in Indiana was going through their grandfather’s belongings when they made a shocking discovery: a hand grenade. The device, which was apparently a war souvenir or a part of a collection, turned out to be live and exploded when someone pulled the pin. The blast killed the father, Bryan Niedert, and injured his two teenage children.

According to the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, the incident occurred shortly before 6:30 p.m. in Lakes of the Four Seasons, a gated community about an hour southeast of Chicago. Niedert, 47, was pronounced dead at the scene, while his 18-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son were transported to a local hospital with shrapnel wounds.

The Porter County Bomb Squad was called to secure the area and determine whether there were additional devices. Detectives with the Lake County Sheriff’s Department Homicide and its CSI unit are investigating the incident. An autopsy on Niedert is set to be performed on Monday.

Grenade detonations are increasingly rare, but not unheard of. Lt. Col. Robert Leiendecker, an explosives expert with the 67th Ordnance Detachment stationed at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C., told The New York Times that there are many hand grenades in private homes, but most of them are inert and safe to handle.

However, some grenades may still be active and dangerous, especially if they are old or have been tampered with. In January 2021, a 12-year-old boy in North Carolina was killed after a grenade he bought at an antique mall exploded.

The tragic accident in Indiana serves as a reminder of the potential hazards of explosive devices and the importance of calling 911 if anyone finds one at their home. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Niedert family and their loved ones.


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