Police: Exposure likely cause of man’s New Year’s Eve death

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014 9:32 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Photo provided)
Devin Blakeley

WATERMAN – Devin G. Blakeley left a New Year’s Eve party after arguing with another man over a woman, and later likely died of exposure to the elements, DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott said.

Blakeley, 20, of Shabbona, was among 20 to 25 people at a private party at 10720 Duffy Road on New Year’s Eve, police said. Witnesses said he was intoxicated when he left the party about 2 a.m. Jan. 1. His friends found his body in a creek by the road just east of the home about 2:45 p.m. Jan. 2, police said.

“He was supposed to be waiting at a car of a friend who brought him,” Scott said. “He apparently wandered away, and the friend thought he got a ride with someone else.”

Blakeley graduated from Indian Creek High School in 2011 and enlisted in the Air Force, graduating from Air Force basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, in 2012.

An autopsy performed last week showed no injuries or signs of foul play, DeKalb County Coroner Dennis Miller said. Blakeley appeared to be in good health and in good fitness, but Miller is waiting on routine toxicology results to determine the cause and manner of death.

He expects those tests will take two or three weeks.

“There are no signs of foul play or struggle,” Miller said. “We feel it probably is going to be weather-related. No marks, bruises or injuries whatsoever.”

By the afternoon of Jan. 3, DeKalb County Sheriff’s police had finished with interviews, but could explore different aspects of the case based on what the toxicology tests show. Guests at the party were asked to bring their own alcohol, and police said it was premature to explore who might have provided Blakeley alcohol given that he was underage.

“It’s an open investigation,” Scott said. “That’s one of the things we’ll look into; if we have solid evidence, we’ll take that kind of [criminal] action. Right now, the focus of the investigation is the death investigation.”

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