Because of several wounds on his body, East St. Louis police at first thought that 52-year-old David Shepherd had been shot to death when his body was found Wednesday morning in the 600 Block of North 28th Street.
But as the story unfolded with the help of an autopsy, mystery still remained as to exactly what killed Shepherd, but one thing was certain, he had not been shot.
Caseyville police said the man found dead in East St. Louis Wednesday was in their village on Tuesday when an ambulance was called for him and a police officer drove him home to East St. Louis after the man refused treatment.
St. Clair County Coroner Rick Stone on Thursday identified Shepherd. Initially, East St. Louis police said Shepherd may have been shot several times and officers were seeking information about his black pickup truck.
But Stone said Thursday, "He did not die from gunshot wounds ... We are investigating it as a suspicious death."
The results of an autopsy on Wednesday did not reveal a cause of death, Stone said, but did show that Shepherd had suffered "bites from critters" that probably occurred after he died. Many abandoned large dogs roam the city.
Illinois State Police officers are assisting East St. Louis officers in the investigation of Shepherd's death.
"He had some trauma but not trauma that would have caused his death," said Capt. James Morrisey. "We are trying to find out where that trauma came from."
According to a Caseyville Police Department report, the truck wasn't missing but was left Tuesday night in the parking lot of the DAM (Darrell and Missy's Bar & Grill") Bar at 605 N. Main. The report states that Shepherd, who told police he lived on 35th Street in East St. Louis, was spotted in his truck "foaming at the mouth" by Caseyville Police Officer Derrick Jeske who called for emergency medical service that Shepherd refused.
Shepherd told the officer that he had been waiting for his mother to come and pick him up when police showed up at the bar's parking lot. An owner allowed him to keep the truck there overnight.
Owner Missy Langelia said that earlier Tuesday she saw Shepherd sitting for hours in his truck apparently shivering and took him out a coat and hat. Later, when Shepherd was still sitting in the truck, Langelia called Caseyville Police and Jeske was sent to investigate,
"When I gave him the stuff he didn't know where he was at. It is so sad that he died. I wished I hadn't tried to help him. He might still be alive."
When an ambulance arrived, Shepherd refused treatment. An attendant told Langelia that they couldn't take Shepherd for treatment against his will because Shepherd was "not combative or suicidal." She said her husband, Darrell Langelia, had been called by the Illinois State Police in Collinsville to give a statement Thursday.
Jeske then gave Shepherd a ride to his home at 1304 N. 35th St., at Jeske's request and let him off about 6 p.m. Tuesday.
East St. Louis Police Chief Michael Floore said Wednesday that an initial examination of the body indicated that Shepherd might have been shot.
Caseyville Police Chief J.D. Roth said his department is assisting in the investigation.
BND reporter Carolyn Smith contributed information to this article. Contact reporter George Pawlaczyk at email@example.com or 618-239-2625. Contact reporter Beth Hundsdorfer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2570.