O'FALLON, Mo. (KSDK) - After a four month investigation sparked by a grieving family, prosecutors in St. Charles County announced they will not be filing charges in the drowning death of one time Gateway Grizzlies outfielder Kent Gerst.
Gerst, 24, was found September 9 in Peruque Creek in O'Fallon after he had gone missing the day before. He was discovered in less than a foot of water after what police said was an accidental fall.
Family members however disputed that theory and provided evidence to investigators that Kent Gerst had actually been out with friends and was viciously attacked by another man.
In a statement provided to NewsChannel 5 by the Gerst family, they claim to have witnesses who told them how Kent was "sucker punched" by an acquaintance while socializing at an O'Fallon bar.
Gerst reportedly retreated from the attack only to be assaulted a second time by the same man. Family members believe their son left the altercation and ended up in the creek due to being disoriented from the attacks.
The medical examiner ruled the death an accidental drowning. The report indicated Gerst was still conscious when he first entered the water, he had a broken right wrist, a fractured rib, and multiple areas of scrapes and abrasions on his face and upper body.
The report also suggested the injuries did not come from a fall as police initially thought.
Despite the family's diligence in having the person responsible for the attack on their son to be held accountable, the Gerst family was informed by prosecutors Wednesday no criminal charges would be filed in their son's death.
Kent Gerst was a professional baseball player who was a 2006 draft selection of the Chicago White Sox, and who later played with the Gateway Grizzlies based in Sauget. He was a graduate of Fort Zumwalt West High School.