Update: Police Say O'Fallon Man Found Dead Appears to Have Drowned
Former St. Dominic student Andrew Ell, 22, was found dead in Warrenton on Sunday. Police say it appears he accidentally drowned in a ravine.
Officials are investigating the death of a 22-year-old man who appears to have drowned near the outer road along Interstate 70 in Warrenton on Sunday.
Andrew Ell, according to Fox 2 News, was out with friends and stopped to use a restroom in Warrenton. He never reconnected with his friends and he was later found in a wooded area.
Earlier today, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Ell's death was being treated by police as a homicide. According to the report, officials are now saying Ell's death appears to be an accident.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that although autopsy results will take weeks to be finalized, police say that Ell was drinking on Sunday and appears to have injuries from falling down the ravine, where he was found face down in four inches of water.
"Andrew graduated in 2008 and he was a wonderful young man, well thought of by all of his teachers," St. Dominic High School President Cathy Fetter told O'Fallon Patch on Monday afternoon. "His passing is a tragedy and a loss for all of us. We certainly are praying for his family and friends."
Friends of Ell took turns leaving loving messages and fond memories of him on his Facebook wall.
Ell went missing sometime between late Friday night and early Saturday morning. On Ell's Facebook page, a family member wrote: "Andrew Ell has now been missing more than 24 hours. Last seen in the Jack in the Box parking lot in Warrenton headed toward Walmart at around 1 a.m. sat morning. Anyone with information please call Cathy his mother at [phone number edited out] or the Warrenton police. This is NOT a joke, we are all praying for his safe return."