A body of a 40-year-old man was found on the side of the road across from Emge Junior High School in Belleville early Tuesday morning, a deputy coroner with the St. Clair County Coroner’s Office said.
Deputy Coroner Dean Darnall said the body was identified as Richard Kelley Jr., who lived in the 100 block of Sheffield Drive, not far from where he was found.
Darnall said it appeared Kelley died of natural causes, pending further investigation. He was pronounced dead at 6:08 a.m.
Multiple Belleville police officers and at least one ambulance had responded to the area at 4:48 a.m. Tuesday. A section of Westchester Drive was blocked off from South 74th Street to Sheffield Drive for more than an hour as police investigated.
Police said in a Facebook post that they were initally dispatched to the 7400 block of Westchester Drive in reference to “a possible subject down.” Once on scene, police said they found a man unconscious and not breathing. The man, later identified as Kelley, did not appear to have any serious injuries.
A body bag was seen in a grassy area across from the Emge school. Shortly after 6:30 a.m., some of the first responders were seen leaving the area, though two officers were seen walking inside a house on Sheffield Drive not far from where the body was found. The coroner’s office said Kelley lived in the house with his father.
The death investigation was ongoing Tuesday morning, but police said they were not looking for any suspects in connection to Kelley’s death. The coroner’s office said toxicology tests would be conducted to help determine how Kelley died.
Students and staff at Emge were not affected because the school’s classes don’t resume until Wednesday, following the holiday break.
Return to bnd.com for more details as the story develops.