Hypothermia Official Cause of Joey Frase Death

Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd reports that Joey Frase's blood-alcohol content was .09, but it was exposure to the sub-zero temperatures that ultimately claimed his life in the early morning hours of Jan. 20.

The cause of death for Joseph "Joey" Frase of Grayslake, whose body was found the morning of Jan. 22 near Campbell Airport, "is very simple," said Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd.


Frase, 20, had gone missing from a party in Round Lake's Madrona Village in the early morning hours of Sunday, Jan 20. Volunteers searching in a tree line near the area of Campbell Airport in Round Lake Park discovered his body at about 10:35 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22.

Given the sub-zero wind chills in those overnight hours, and the fact that Frase was wearing a hoodie and not a winter coat, "exposure can take you very fast," said Rudd.

Rudd also reported that Frase's blood-alcohol content was .09, just over the legal driving limit of .08.

Rudd said he did not believe Frase's alcohol consumption played a major role in his death.

"I suspect, but can't prove, that the cold got him first."

Additionally, said Rudd, there was "no homicide evidence" or trauma to the body that would suggest foul play.

Questions remain

Grayslake Police reported Frase was last seen at approximately 1:15 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 20 on foot in a residential area near Townline Road and Cedar Lake Road in Round Lake.

The area where Campbell Airport is located is dark and expansive and includes gravel paths, open fields and a lot of brush, making it easy to become disoriented, especially at night and in the freezing cold.

A vigil for Frase was held near the airport Tuesday night. All that could be seen in the darkness was the glow of candles.

"It's quite a ways away from any homes and any lights," said Rudd of the airport area. "I think he just couldn't find his way out."

The circumstances of that night, and the party, are unclear, but the investigation, now being handled by the Round Lake Park Police Department, is on-going.

Rudd said toxicology tests were completed on Frase's body, but it could take three to four weeks to learn the results.

A memorial service for Frase will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26 at the Symonds Lakes Funeral Home in Grayslake.

UPDATED: Body of Missing Grayslake Man Found Reports Family

Share Your Memories of Joey Frase

Candlelight Vigil Held for Joey Frase

Small Brush Fire Reported at Campbell Airport After Vigil

Obituary: Joseph "Joey" Frase

Lydia Huff January 24, 2013 at 07:22 PM
That's so sad. Prayers to his family.
Super Mom 2010 January 24, 2013 at 08:36 PM
How tragic. What kind of "friends" let this happen?
sandy l January 24, 2013 at 09:02 PM
This is so very sad! My heart goes out to the family during this difficult time. On another note, the article states that the investigation is still on. It doesn't sound like he had that much alcohol in his system when he was found. Perhaps the investigation will be focused on the hosts of the party he was at. How long was he there? Was he kicked out (for whatever reason) and started walking towards grayslake as pre previously suggested? What about the friends? When they couldn't find him, why didn't they alert his parents or call the police? Alot of unanswered questions here.
Barb January 24, 2013 at 11:19 PM
@ super mom 2010 DON'T YOU THINK HIS FREINDS ARE GOING THREW SOME STUFF RIGHT NOW! YOUR WORDS SHOW IGNORANCE! To Joeys friends; This is NOT in ANYWAY, your fault. Please know that. Don't let the word of fools play part in your thoughts. To others looking to post comments, sometimes your questions are better IN YOUR HEAD then here for those who were with him or his family to read.
kathleen January 25, 2013 at 06:03 AM
Barb... Appears that Joey's tragic mistake could be a lesson. I think that when we get all of the information on Joey's accident, we can share it. I think that Joey would want that in order to prevent another such terrible accident.
Cheryl Wessely January 25, 2013 at 04:40 PM
There are definitely things that could have been handled differently. I can definitely see young adults who had been participating in underage drinking being hesitant to call the police or parents. I think as parents we need to instill in our children faith that their world won't end for doing something wrong. We need to encourage them to drink responsibly even while doing it illegally. I'm sure the friends weren't sure what to do under the circumstances and assumed their friend had made it somewhere safely.
Diane January 25, 2013 at 04:55 PM
This was a very tragic accident and my heart, thoughts and prayers to his family and friends. Grayslakers, lets help his friends and family through this and stick together like a community should, not place blame where there is none.
Super Mom 2010 January 25, 2013 at 07:00 PM
Barb, I'm pretty sure you mean through not threw. I think this is a very horrible situation that should have NEVER happened. Sadly, it cost a young man his life. I have every right to speak freely and pose that question, because really..how in the hell does this happen? I hate to speculate but it seems there is more to this story than the "friends" are letting on. No parent should ever have to experience something like this. I pray that his family is able to find peace during these difficult times.
Debbie Molina January 25, 2013 at 07:14 PM
I agree with Supermom2010. Someone should have made sure he got home safe or at least spent the night somewhere. It is very sad that this poor young man had to lose his life.
sandy l January 25, 2013 at 08:17 PM
I know I, myself, have made some VERY bad choices in my life, many of which were while in my teens and early 20's.that were dangerous, impulsive, stupid. Heck, even later in life I have made poor choices!! The fact that I am here to reflect on them is nothing short of a miracle or Grace from GOD. This tragedy is scary and sad. I had a conversation with my youngest regarding this and I can only pray pray pray she will make the "right" choices and know she can always call us if ever in a situation that could be dangerous or uncomfortable. We as parents strive to protect our children and pray for their safety and happiness. This is a tragic example of how sometimes in life, no matter what we do, how hard we pray, things just are out of our control. Hug your children tonight. Tell them you love them. Be grateful that they are here with us today. And maybe say a prayer for this family. I know I will..(again)
Charles January 26, 2013 at 01:56 AM
Those sticking their heads in the sand with regards to this is as tragic as the incident. Asking the tough questions and finding out "Why" or "How" it happened to get to the bottom of it is the right thing to do in order to try and reduce if not avoid these kinds of things in the future. Incidents like this just don't happen for no reason... something led up to it. There was a failure somewhere down the line and maybe no one is directly to blame or maybe all involved are partly to blame, but we just don't know all of that at this point now do we? Feel for the parents, feel for the friends, but as with any tragedy, find out the facts so that hopefully it won't happen again.
David Winfrey January 29, 2013 at 08:58 PM
I am Joey's uncle and friend, and I knew him well, loved him very much indeed. I'm convinced that stubbornness and pride were much more responsible for Joe's death than alcohol and ignorance. My nephew had a stubborn streak that was passed to him by his grandfather.It was not by any means an unattractive quality. On the contrary, it made him self sufficient and determined. Plus, he also possessed the loving and gentle qualities of his mother and grandmother. There is no smoking gun here. My nephew is dead, taken by a senseless accident, stolen from the people who loved and needed him way to early. All that's left are these inane questions that I wish people would quit asking. I loved my friend Joey, and I miss him, and I just wish I could have been there to help him. Son of a bitch, I wish I could have helped him.
cCt January 31, 2013 at 09:46 AM
Personally there is someone to blame... How about the adult that purchased the 20 year old the alcohol? A bartender can be convicted of serving a man who goes and kills others in a dui accident, and a parent can be convicted if a child kills themselves or others after a drunk party. This is no different, and though he froze to death, the amount of alcohol in his system definitely contributed it weakened him both mentally and physically and caused his untimely death.
cCt January 31, 2013 at 09:54 AM
And if he was served at a bar then the bartender is just as guilty. and you can't say they didn't know he was an underage drinker and also claim everyone knew him.....it is one or the other.
cCt January 31, 2013 at 09:58 AM
As for the people blaming the police department for not looking for him right away, get your head checked. Even if they delayed looking for him after first notified, he was already dead according to the M.E., and why is this? Because his friends took so long to notify the authorities because they were afraid of getting busted for drinking underage or serving to minors
Megan McGarry February 22, 2013 at 04:45 PM
My name is megan and I am a close friend of Joey's. I was not at the party, but I was his last phone call ever made. My phone never registered the call but shortly after he placed it, his phone died. His friends at the party did try and help him. But when he said he was lost, he also told them that he was in a completely different place than he really was. His friends were not worried about being caught when they reported it. They waited 24 hours to see if he would show up. He was an adult. He was allowed to walk off if he wanted to. Whether it was wisest decision or not. Please don't assume when you don't know the entire story.


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