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Hypothermia Official Cause of Joey Frase Death

Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd reports that Joey Frase's blood-alcohol content was .09, but it was exposure to the sub-zero temperatures that ultimately claimed his life in the early morning hours of Jan. 20.

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.

"Hypothermia."

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.

Questions remain

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.

UPDATED: Body of Missing Grayslake Man Found Reports Family

Share Your Memories of Joey Frase

Candlelight Vigil Held for Joey Frase

Small Brush Fire Reported at Campbell Airport After Vigil

Obituary: Joseph "Joey" Frase

David Winfrey January 29, 2013 at 08:58 PM
I am Joey's uncle and friend, and I knew him well, loved him very much indeed. I'm convinced that stubbornness and pride were much more responsible for Joe's death than alcohol and ignorance. My nephew had a stubborn streak that was passed to him by his grandfather.It was not by any means an unattractive quality. On the contrary, it made him self sufficient and determined. Plus, he also possessed the loving and gentle qualities of his mother and grandmother. There is no smoking gun here. My nephew is dead, taken by a senseless accident, stolen from the people who loved and needed him way to early. All that's left are these inane questions that I wish people would quit asking. I loved my friend Joey, and I miss him, and I just wish I could have been there to help him. Son of a bitch, I wish I could have helped him.
cCt January 31, 2013 at 09:46 AM
Personally there is someone to blame... How about the adult that purchased the 20 year old the alcohol? A bartender can be convicted of serving a man who goes and kills others in a dui accident, and a parent can be convicted if a child kills themselves or others after a drunk party. This is no different, and though he froze to death, the amount of alcohol in his system definitely contributed it weakened him both mentally and physically and caused his untimely death.
cCt January 31, 2013 at 09:54 AM
And if he was served at a bar then the bartender is just as guilty. and you can't say they didn't know he was an underage drinker and also claim everyone knew him.....it is one or the other.
cCt January 31, 2013 at 09:58 AM
As for the people blaming the police department for not looking for him right away, get your head checked. Even if they delayed looking for him after first notified, he was already dead according to the M.E., and why is this? Because his friends took so long to notify the authorities because they were afraid of getting busted for drinking underage or serving to minors
Megan McGarry February 22, 2013 at 04:45 PM
My name is megan and I am a close friend of Joey's. I was not at the party, but I was his last phone call ever made. My phone never registered the call but shortly after he placed it, his phone died. His friends at the party did try and help him. But when he said he was lost, he also told them that he was in a completely different place than he really was. His friends were not worried about being caught when they reported it. They waited 24 hours to see if he would show up. He was an adult. He was allowed to walk off if he wanted to. Whether it was wisest decision or not. Please don't assume when you don't know the entire story.

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