Body found in Little Wabash River identified

Local News

NOTE: This article was updated to reflect Ealy’s body was found in the Little Wabash River.

EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) – A man whose body was found in the Little Wabash River almost two months ago has been identified.

Using DNA, dental records and tattoos on the body, Effingham County Coroner Kim Rhodes and Deputy Coroner Karen Hoene identified the man as 25-year-old Ladonte D. Ealy of Dayton Ohio.

A preliminary investigation by the Illinois State Police and Effingham County Coroner’s Office revealed that Ealy was released from the St. Louis County Jail in Missouri on Sept. 1, but his whereabouts after that are unknown. Ealy’s body was discovered in the Little Wabash River by a pair of kayakers on Sept. 18.

The commander of a dive team that recovered the body estimated it had been in the river for 10 to 12 days, suggesting an entry between Sept. 6 and Sept. 8.

The cause of death and how Ealy ended up in Effingham are also unknown. Autopsy and toxicology results are still pending.

Anyone who has information on Ladonte Ealy, or who saw any unusual activity near the Little Wabash River the first week of September, is asked to contact ISP Special Agent Timothy Brown at 217-342-7861 or the Effingham County Coroner’s Office at 217-342-4651.

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