The cause of death for Joseph "Joey" Frase of Grayslake, whose body was found the morning of Jan. 22 near Campbell Airport, "is very simple," said Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd.
Frase, 20, had gone missing from a party in Round Lake's Madrona Village in the early morning hours of Sunday, Jan 20. Volunteers searching in a tree line near the area of Campbell Airport in Round Lake Park discovered his body at about 10:35 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22.
Given the sub-zero wind chills in those overnight hours, and the fact that Frase was wearing a hoodie and not a winter coat, "exposure can take you very fast," said Rudd.
Rudd also reported that Frase's blood-alcohol content was .09, just over the legal driving limit of .08.
Rudd said he did not believe Frase's alcohol consumption played a major role in his death.
"I suspect, but can't prove, that the cold got him first."
Additionally, said Rudd, there was "no homicide evidence" or trauma to the body that would suggest foul play.
Grayslake Police reported Frase was last seen at approximately 1:15 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 20 on foot in a residential area near Townline Road and Cedar Lake Road in Round Lake.
The area where Campbell Airport is located is dark and expansive and includes gravel paths, open fields and a lot of brush, making it easy to become disoriented, especially at night and in the freezing cold.
A vigil for Frase was held near the airport Tuesday night. All that could be seen in the darkness was the glow of candles.
"It's quite a ways away from any homes and any lights," said Rudd of the airport area. "I think he just couldn't find his way out."
The circumstances of that night, and the party, are unclear, but the investigation, now being handled by the Round Lake Park Police Department, is on-going.
Rudd said toxicology tests were completed on Frase's body, but it could take three to four weeks to learn the results.
A memorial service for Frase will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26 at the Symonds Lakes Funeral Home in Grayslake.