Janesville36.5°

Foul play ruled out in man's death

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Catherine W. Idzerda
March 23, 2009
— Cold, alcohol or some combination of the two probably was responsible for the death of a Janesville man.

Edward M. Smith, 26, was found Friday in a wooded area behind the Little League baseball fields near Prairie Avenue and Mayapple Drive. Police do not suspect foul play.


"The toxicology results aren't back yet, but it will probably be hypothermia or alcohol or a combination of both," Janesville Police Department Lt. Tim Hiers said Monday. "There are no signs of blunt trauma or internal injuries."


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, found Smith dead and called police.


Investigators have interviewed everyone who was with Smith on Thursday night, and collected evidence at the scene all day Friday, Deputy Chief David Moore said.


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



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