A suspect is in custody in connection with the death of an 18-year-old Breese High School Student.
Early Sunday morning a fist fight broke out at a clubhouse party in a rural part of the county. Jacob Arter, 18, was one of several dozen people at the party. Arter was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Police received a call from the ER around 1:30 a.m. Sunday. Since then they have been talking to dozens of witnesses and other party-goers.
"Our detectives have been working since I called them out this morning,” said Sgt. Dennis Perez with the Clinton County Sheriff's Office. “Diligently interviewing everyone that they can identify as having been at the party, whether they had seen anything or had not seen anything, so that we can determine if they have any evidentiary value to the case."
Police said considering the size of Clinton County, which is roughly 37,000 people, Sunday’s early morning party drew a considerable crowd of people. As soon as their investigation is complete, the Sheriff’s Office will submit its findings to the State Attorney’s Office.
Sunday night, two people who were at the party, said they didn’t see the fight break out. But, once they were told that a young man was in trouble, they stepped in to help.
"I had a kid tell me that there was a kid messed up pretty bad on the ground, he was unconscious,” said Dakota Leroy. “So, I ran over to him, tried to help him the best I could, tried to get everyone away from him to give him air, and told people to get two or three bigger guys, put him in the back seat of my car, I told another kid to give him CPR on the way to the hospital.”
Arter was a senior at Breese Central Community High School. The Superintendent says he was slated to graduate in just 20 days. Arter had plans to play football at Illinois College this fall. His high school describes him as a “bright student,” who was enrolled in upper level courses. He was a star football player and looking forward to continuing his academic and athletic career.
"As a community, we're thinking about the families involved, the family of the deceased and you know, it touched somebody's, several family's lives all at once,” said Clinton County Sheriff, Doug Maue.
An autopsy was conducted Monday afternoon. It’s not yet clear when the results will be released.
"What our job here at the Sherriff's Department is to conduct the investigation, gather all the facts, and turn it over the State's Attorney's Office and let them determine the charges they want to file,” said Maue.
Once the Sheriff Office completes its investigation, they will turn the case over to the State Attorney’s Office.