Metro-East News

High school student in Clinton County dead after being battered, police say

A Clinton County high school student died early Sunday morning after he was the victim of a battery, according to the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department.

The sheriff’s department and Clinton County Coroner Phillip Moss declined to release the identity of the individual, but Moss confirmed that he was an 18-year-old high school senior.

The latest: Suspect in custody, sheriff says

Moss declined to state which school the deceased attended, but social media on Sunday was filled with posts about the death of a student from Central High School in Breese named Jake Arter.

The student was brought to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese at 1:35 a.m. after he “had been battered,” according to a statement from the sheriff’s department. The teen was unresponsive and later died from his injuries. He was pronounced dead at 2:24 a.m.

The sheriff’s statement didn’t say where the teen was when he suffered his injuries.

Kaylie Smothers of Breese said Arter was at a party in rural Germantown when he was punched by another person. Smothers said she did not witness Arter being punched, but she was standing near a campfire when someone said another partygoer had been unconscious for 10 minutes.

“I ran over there and asked, ‘Why isn’t anybody taking him to the hospital? He needs medical help.’ Everybody was looking at me like I was stupid,” Smothers said. “I think everyone was really confused about what to do.”

Smothers, a college student, said she pulled up her car, and people loaded Arter into it. One person got into the car and performed CPR as Smothers drove to St. Joseph’s Hospital.

At the hospital, they ran into the emergency room and asked for help.

“One of the nurses jumped on him and tried to give him CPR on the way in, and they tried shocking him back to life,” Smothers said.

She added, “I’m really shaken up ... I’m scarred for life.”

The sheriff’s department on Sunday was conducting an investigation into the death “to identify the suspect(s) and any possible witnesses,” according to the sheriff’s statement.

“I didn’t see a fight or hear a fight,” Smothers said. “I heard that the kid was going around saying he was going to punch him in the face, and then he finally did it — that’s what I heard.”

An autopsy was scheduled for Monday afternoon.

Brian Brueggemann: 618-239-2475, @B_Brueggemann

Casey Bischel: 618-239-2655, @CaseyBischel