Teen dies after fight

Local News

Update: 6:00 pm, 6/22/17, Thursday

MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA) —  Friends are remembering an area man who died earlier this week. 18-year old Austin McDowell died after a fist fight at Lake Paradise. Another man is in police custody. 

Austin’s friends say he was the type of kid who would drop anything to help others. They say he had so much potential to do anything in life, but his life ended too soon. They say he was a hardworking guy.

“He was always working on something with the Corvette.”

Known for his passion for cars and for working with his hands.

“He loved cars, he had this, I forgot what year it was, but like an ’80’s Corvette. ’88 I think. He loved that thing.”

“Honestly, just anything he could get his hands on, he was working on.”

“Last I knew, he was even working on building his own house.”

But it was at the hands of someone else which would bring his life to a screeching halt. After a fistfight at Lake Paradise between McDowell and Dillan DeSilva, McDowell was brought to the hospital.

DeSilva is now in police custody, but McDowell’s friends are trying to grasp what went wrong.

“I wish that things wouldn’t have happened the way that they did.”

“Words can’t describe how bad it feels to actually not have him here.”

For now, his friends say they’re trying to cope, and remember McDowell for the times they shared.

“He was definitely a class clown of our senior class. He was always cracking people up in class, always doing something goofy to make the students, teachers laugh.”

“Some days where you’re having a rough day or having boring days, he added entertainment, he was just an all-around good person. It’s hard to believe he’s gone.”

DeSilva is being held at the Coles County Sheriff’s Department on a bail of $500,000. The investigation is ongoing. 

Original: 10:00 pm, 6/21/17, Wednesday

MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA) –A fight turned deadly for one teenager. Now authorities have another teen in custody as a suspect.  

18-year old Dillan DeSilva was arrested for aggravated battery Tuesday after the fight. Austin McDowell died Wednesday. It all happened Tuesday between the two 18-year olds at Lake Paradise, in Mattoon.

The Coles County Sheriff’s Office says they were called for an unresponsive person around 8:30 pm.

Brody Miller, a friend of Austin’s for 15 years, says, “He [Austin] was just a really good kid, mechanically enabled and very intelligent.”                                                                              

Clint Janes says, “My son went to high school with Austin. I have known him for about four years. He was a very good friend of my sons. He used to come to our house in Mattoon, even when my son wasn’t home. He always wanted to help with any kind of project I was working on in my garage. If he had a wrench in his hand, he was happy.” 

While DeSilva has been arrested for charges related to this fight, the Coles County’s Sheriff’s Office says McDowell’s cause of death is undetermined and the case is still under investigation. 

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