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updated: 1/25/2013 5:27 PM

Grayslake man succumbed to cold, coroner says

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  • Joseph "Joey" Frase

      Joseph "Joey" Frase

 
 

A 20-year-old Grayslake man whose body was found Tuesday near Campbell Airport, more than two days after he was last seen alive, froze to death, authorities said.

Joseph "Joey" Frase was wearing a hooded sweatshirt but no coat, hat or gloves in subfreezing weather when he left a home early Sunday in the Madrona Village subdivision in Round Lake, west of the airport.

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"Basically, he succumbed to the temperature -- hypothermia," Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd said Friday. "Essentially, he had a minimal amount of clothing on for being out in that weather."

Rudd said tests also showed Frase's blood-alcohol level was 0.09 percent, just over the legal limit of 0.08 percent for motorists.

"Basically, it comes down to intoxication just above the cut off and exposure to the elements did him in," Rudd said. He added the manner of death "more than likely" will be determined to be accidental.

The windchill was near zero about 1 a.m. Sunday, when Frase was seen leaving a home on the 300 block of Highplains Road on foot. He reportedly called a friend at 1:30 a.m. saying he was lost and cold, but could not be located.

His body was found by volunteer searchers about 10:35 a.m. Tuesday in the tree line area in Round Lake Park between the subdivision and Campbell Airport to the east. Rudd said the body was located "deep in the brush."

Round Lake Park Police conducted the death investigation. Chief George Filenko said the initial assumption was Frase had died of hypothermia. There were no signs of foul play or obvious signs of trauma.

"I don't know how much the alcohol contributed or not," said Filenko, who note alcohol affects individuals in different ways.

Details of what happened after Frase left the home where the party was held are unclear. It also is unclear whether Frase was inside. One version said he didn't enter the party for whatever reason.

"It's not closed on our end. It's an open investigation," said Round Lake Deputy Police Chief Francis Foy. No arrests have been made or charges brought.

He added there was "no indication he (Frase) did any drinking in our town." Hypothermia occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can produce it, according to mayoclinic.com. Left untreated, it can lead to failure of the heart and respiratory system and death. Symptoms include confusion or difficulty thinking and poor decision making, according to the site.

Rudd said it will take a week or more to get results of toxicology testing.

"There may have been something else that obscured his sense of direction," Rudd said. It could not be determined how long Frase had been dead, Rudd said, but it likely occurred within a couple of hours of him being outside.

A memorial gathering is planned for Saturday from 4 to 9 p.m., with a service scheduled for 7 p.m., at Symonds-Lakes Funeral Home, 111 W. Belvidere Road (Route 120), Grayslake. Call (847) 543-1080.

According to information on the funeral home's Facebook page, Frase enjoyed spending time with friends and family, working on his car, playing basketball and fishing.

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