Death of Swansea man found in a retention pond near Centralia motel ruled self-inflicted

Death of Swansea man found in a retention pond near Centralia motel ruled self-inflicted

CENTRALIA, IL — The Major Case Squad of St. Louis has confirmed a Swansea man found dead last week in a retention pond on the west side of Centralia died from self-inflicted injuries. According to Captain Bruce Fleshren, Deputy Commander of the St. Louis Major Case Squad, The Clinton County Sheriff’s Department requested they investigate the death of Jeffrey M. Downs.

Downs was reported missing on March 6th, after staying at the Best Western Motel located at on Jolliff Bridge Rd in Centralia on Friday the 5th. On Sunday the 7th, family members returned to the motel and discovered video footage from Friday night showing Downs on the patio of the motel and at approximately 6:40p.m. he walked through a field towards a retention pond behind the motel. The area was checked and a jacket belonging to Downs was found in the water along with a pack of cigarettes floating nearby.

Centralia Police and Fire Departments responded and began to search the lake. On the morning of Sunday the 7th a body was recovered by the Fire Department. Injuries were observed to the body and an autopsy was done on Wednesday the 10th. The autopsy indicated that the injuries to the body were not the result of an accident. Because of the circumstances surrounding the death of Downs, the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department asked for the assistance of the St. Louis Metropolitan Major Case Squad. 17 investigators then began working the case headquartered in Carlyle, IL. Investigators arrived and conducted a thorough investigation over 3 days. The pond was searched for a possible weapon by the O’Fallon Underwater Recovery Team. The area around the pond was searched by K-9 trained search dogs for any weapons that could have been left but none were found.

The results of this investigation indicate Downs inflicted the wounds found on his body, including the fatal wound, causing his own death.

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