Suspicious death still under investigation

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Ted Sullivan
Saturday, March 21, 2009
— An autopsy on the body of a Janesville man found dead will be done today to learn what caused his death and whether it was criminal in nature.

Edward M. Smith, 26, was found at 9 a.m. Friday in a wooded area behind the Little League baseball fields near Prairie Avenue and Mayapple Drive, Janesville Police Lt. Tim Hiers said.

Police are investigating it as a suspicious death, but the body had no visible knife or gunshot wounds, he said.

Smith and three friends were in the area drinking alcohol at 9:30 p.m. Thursday when police told them to leave, Hiers said.

Police then left the group to respond to a call of shots fired in the Look West Neighborhood, he said.

Smith’s friends left, but he stayed behind, Hiers said.

One friend returned Friday morning to get a backpack the group had left behind and found Smith dead, he said. The friend reported it to police.

Investigators have interviewed everyone who was with Smith on Thursday night, Hiers said, and Smith’s death remains under investigation.

Investigators were at the scene all day Friday collecting evidence, Deputy Chief David Moore said.

Unexplained deaths always are investigated as crimes, even though the cause of death might later turn out to be something else, he said.

The autopsy on Smith’s body will be done in Madison, Hiers said.

Last updated: 9:50 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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