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What happened to three Kansas City Chiefs fans found dead outside friend’s home?

The deaths of Clayton McGeeney, 36, David Harrington, 37, and Ricky Johnson, 38, have rocked the community in Kansas City, Missouri. Three weeks after their bodies were found behind a home, the circumstances surrounding the tragedy remain unclear, writes Andrea Blanco

Thursday 01 February 2024 16:12 GMT
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A night of celebration ended in tragedy for three Kansas City Chiefs fans who mysteriously met their deaths in the backyard of a Missouri home.

Kansas City authorities are investigating the circumstances that led to the deaths of Clayton McGeeney, 36, David Harrington, 37, and Ricky Johnson, 38.

The victims were last seen alive on the night of 7 January. Hoping to continue celebrating the Kansas City Chiefs victory against the Los Angeles Chargers that night, the three men decided to visit a friend.

Two days later, the bodies of the three men were found behind the home, two of which were discovered in the backyard, and one was found on the back porch. Law enforcement has not officially confirmed their cause of death, but it is suspected they died of hypothermia after Kansas City saw below-freezing temperatures that reached the teens.

An attorney for the owner of the home where the bodies were found told The Independent in a statement that his client was not aware his friends were dead behind his home until police showed up at his door on 9 January. The Kansas City Police Department said that the victims’ deaths are not being investigated as homicides and that the homeowner is not a suspect.

But three weeks after the tragedy, the mystery surrounding it has deepened as it recently emerged there was a fifth person present at the home when McGeeney, Harrington and Johnson visited their friend.

Here’s everything we know about the case:

Homeowner ‘went to bed’ before victims left, attorney says

The three men arrived at the home of their friend, Jordan Willis, shortly after 9pm on 7 January to celebrate a game that saw the Kansas City Chiefs defeat the Los Angeles Chargers. Mr Willis reportedly went to bed while his friends were still at the home.

Although a cause and manner of death have not been confirmed pending an autopsy, John Picerno, an attorney for Mr Willis, said the men seemingly died by hypothermia. Mr Picerno said it was a mystery how the three bodies went undiscovered for two days.

“Jordan had absolutely nothing to do with their deaths,” Mr Picerno said in that statement to The Independent. “He does not know the timing or manner of their deaths, nor does he know how or when they exited his house. He had no knowledge that they remained in his back yard, or that they needed medical attention.”

According to Mr Picerno, Mr Willis was unaware that loved ones had been trying to locate his three missing friends. Although two cars that belonged to his friends were parked in his street, Mr Willis didn’t notice the cars because they were not parked in his driveway.

“Two people came to his house; however, he did not hear them as he sleeps with earbuds and a loud fan,” Mr Picerno added. “One of those people, the wife of one of the deceased, tried to reach him via Facebook messenger, unfortunately, he did not see the message until after the police contacted him.”

Authorities do not suspect foul play

The Kansas City Police Department is investigating whether alcohol or drugs were involved in the incident. KCPD Captain Jake Becchina told Fox News Digital that Mr Willis had been cooperative with the investigation and he was not considered a suspect.

“First and foremost, this case is 100% NOT being investigated as a homicide,” Cpt Becchina said. “There have not been any arrests [or] charges, and no one is in custody. There are no specific threats or concerns for the surrounding community at this time.”

Fifth individual was present at gathering

Mr Picerno recently revealed that there was a fifth friend with Mr Willis and the other three men on the night of 7 January.

The man, who has not been named publicly, had arrived at Mr Willis’ home before McGeeney, Harrington and Johnson, and left around midnight. The man’s attorney, Andrew Talge, told NewsNation that the other four men were alive and watching Jeopardy! when he left.

Mr Talge also said that his client had received messages from McGeeney’s fiancée and Johnson’s mother, who were concerned after not hearing from their loved ones. Despite Mr Picerno’s previous statements, Mr Talge said his client did send a text to Mr Willis asking if he knew McGeeney, Harrington and Johnson’s whereabouts.

Family members voice frustration

Family members of the deceased have expressed their frustration at the lack of answers in the investigation into their loved ones’ deaths.

“My son and these other men were wonderful people. They deserve justice,” Jennifer Marquez, Harrington’s mother, told WDAF-TV. “The story, the whole story needs to come out.”

“Just the thought of him dying and then him sitting outside in the cold for two days,” McGeeney’s cousin Caleb McGeeney told FOX 4. “It’s extremely devastating. The whole family is messed up. He was such a good person.”

Neighbour recorded video of chaotic scene moments after bodies were found

Ashton Brady told NewsNation that he was getting ready for bed when he noticed a woman who appeared to be distressed, walking up from behind Jordan Willis’ house, across the street.

An ambulance and multiple police cars arrived on the scene and Mr Brady began recording on his phone, capturing Mr Willis being detained by police in front of his home.

“Bro, what is going on right now,” Mr Brady is heard on the video exclaiming. “What is going on right now?? Dude, domestic violence is crazy. Yo, everybody be nice to one another, c’mon now. What is going on?”

Mr Brady told NewsNation that he thought it was some sort of domestic dispute and eventually he went to bed. It wasn’t until the next day that he found out what happened.

“The police searched the house, went to the backyards, everything, and I had no idea what had happened,” Mr Brady said. “The next morning I saw the news. I just was kind of in disbelief. … I watched that happen.”

Brother of Chiefs fan says frozen body was found in lawn chair

Jonathan Price told NewsNation that the frozen body of his brother Ricky Johnson was found in a sitting position in a lawn chair.

“David [Harrington] was found in a lawn chair on the back porch rather than all three laying flat,” Mr Price said. “As a brother I’m looking at everything.”

He said the information “paints a picture we didn’t have from the beginning.”

Mr Price is  among several other family member of the three men who are frustrated with the lack of answers in the bizarre case.

“It’s the same every day with the lack of answers and the inability to truly mourn without any cause,” Mr Price said. “I want to be involved more. My mother and Ricky’s father want to be involved more and we’re not just getting answers from the investigation.”

“I’m not saying there was or was not a crime, but if you immediately suspect no foul play, then you should have a story, you should have something to tell the families and for no one to hear anything, that doesn’t make any sense,” he added.

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