May be that of missing Macoupin County man
August 19, 2008 - 1:23PM
By LINDA N. WELLER and LAURA GRIFFITH
ALTON - Police believe a body that surveyors found shortly after noon Tuesday in a wooded area of Saint Anthony's Health Center's property is that of a missing Macoupin County man.Sources also said later Tuesday that the man, Kelly Wade Greeley, 34, of Chesterfield, apparently hanged himself. "We are not going to comment on if it was a suicide; we want to wait until an autopsy is conducted (today)," said Lt. David Hayes, chief of detectives for the Alton Police Department. He said the condition of the body leads police to believe that the man had been dead for about two weeks.He said authorities believe the body is that of Greeley, based on a clothing description and "a specific physical description of him, and that he had a very prominent digit, one finger that was partially severed."Greeley had lost the tip of the ring finger on his right hand in a farming accident, family members said earlier. Greeley last was seen wearing a white T-shirt, blue jean shorts and white tennis shoes.The spot where the body was found is north of the Saint Anthony's parking garage, down a hill and about 150 feet east of Martin Luther King Boulevard (U.S. Route 67). The area is just west of the new realigned leg of Central Avenue that opened last year north of Statehouse Circle.Diane Schuette, community relations manager at the hospital, confirmed that the area is on Saint Anthony's property.Family members said they last saw Greeley on Aug. 3 in Chesterfield. He failed to contact his girlfriend and relatives later that night, which he usually did, and failed to show up for work Aug. 4 at Olin Corp. in East Alton.At 4 a.m. on Aug. 4, Alton police discovered a car - which later turned out to be Greeley's - abandoned in the street on Putnam Street by Gold Street in the Mexico neighborhood. Because the 1994 Chrysler Concorde was blocking traffic, police had Fred's Towing remove it immediately, Hayes said.After Greeley's family filed a missing person report with the Macoupin County Sheriff's Department on Aug. 7, Hayes said deputies discovered during a computer search that Greeley's car was impounded in Alton.Police do not know whether Greeley had been in the Putnam-Gold streets area, but Hayes said if he had been there, he may have walked to Saint Anthony's. "He had history in this area," Hayes said about the inner-city Mexico neighborhood.An Alton police detective and a Macoupin County Sheriff's Department deputy had canvassed the neighborhood later that week, seeking information about Greeley. Hayes said a couple of people told police that they subsequently had seen Greeley at Putnam, walking or riding a bicycle, but now police think that information was inaccurate."We think that information is bad and that he has been deceased since on or about the 5th of August," he said.Greeley's sister, Tracy Vaughn of Chesterfield, said previously that she doubted the information about the purported sightings of her brother because she said he would have called her, their mother or his girlfriend sometime during those days.On Tuesday, Vaughn said she was awaiting official word from the Madison County Coroner's Office as to whether the body is that of her brother, and she was cautious to say much until then. Still, she did say the past two weeks have been stressful for the family, not knowing her brother's whereabouts or whether he was alive or dead."We are hanging by a thread," she said. "Every day, we call the police department."While Alton had been assisting Macoupin County, because the body turned up in Alton, city police now are the lead investigators, Hayes said."We continue to work with the Macoupin County Sheriff's Department as we try to retrace his steps," Hayes said.Authorities said a survey crew with engineers Sheppard, Morgan and Schwaab Inc., which is working in the area, discovered the body and called 911 at 12:04 p.m. Hayes said the engineers did not disturb the body or its surroundings. They also assisted police by using their global positioning system, which gave investigators a precise location of the body.The ongoing, nearby excavation work at Saint Anthony's is part of the hospital's expansion project, slated for completion in 2010."The area is about to be opened up with a bulldozer," Hayes said about the woods. Detectives from the Alton Police Department began arriving at the scene just after noon, joined later by a Madison County deputy coroner and an Illinois State Police crime scene technician. Police strung yellow crime scene tape at the edge of the woods, extending it back into the trees to keep media and hospital personnel at a distance. From what could be seen, detectives appeared to be taking photos of a man's billfold, which reportedly belonged to Greeley, lying in the grass outside of the wooded area. Hayes said deputies from the Macoupin County Sheriff's Department also came to Alton after learning about the discovery of the body.