Jesse Edwards, 27, of Adel has died at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines of head injuries suffered early Monday at the Booneville boat ramp access to the Raccoon River.
Edwards was found lying in the roadway about 3 a.m. in the 27000 block of 360th street (County Road F90), more than two miles from the boat ramp. He was unresponsive when found and was air lifted to Mercy Hospital in Des Moines.
“We got word that he is gone,” Mel Scearce of Minburn said Friday. Scearce was a friend of Edwards. “We were able to go see him at Mercy on Wednesday,” she said.
A Mercy Hospital telephone service person was contacted about 8:45 p.m. Friday, but she could not confirm the date or time of Edwards’ death.
“I don’t show any patient with that name,” the Mercy Hospital switchboard operator said. “I’m looking at both my digital list and my hand-printed list, and I don’t see a patient with that name. I’m sorry.”
A Mercy Hospital public relations spokesperson contacted Wednesday by ThePerryNews.com said Edwards’ condition was “unavailable,” but now he has apparently slipped from the hospital’s records altogether.
“Our system holds on to patients’ names for approximately 36 hours” following discharge or death, the operator said Friday night. Edwards’ friend Scearce was also uncertain when he died.
“I’m not sure if it was today or not,” Scearce said Friday. “However, we also heard he was able to donate organs all across the country and helped save a number of lives.”
Edwards was transported by medical helicopter to the Des Moines hospital early Monday and was reportedly kept on life support for several days while his internal organs were harvested.
The circumstances of the death of the well known Adel figure remain as unclear as some of those surrounding his injuries. Preliminary investigations suggested blunt-force head trauma was accidental, according to Dallas County Sheriff Chad Leonard.
“We still have some questions that need to be answered,” Leonard said Thursday. He said Edwards “was camping on one of the sand bars and left all his stuff and went hiking and fishing. He made it back to that boat ramp area, where it appears that he slipped and fell on the rocks and injured his head pretty good on the rocks.”
“It’s pretty easy to see how it would have happened,” Leonard said.
What is less easy to see is how Edwards traveled the 2.5 miles from where he was injured to where he was found unconscious.
“That’s the one piece we’ve still got to figure out,” Leonard said. “Our initial thought was that he did get a ride for two miles down the road, but why the person let him out of the car, if he was in a car, is undetermined, so we’re still working on that portion.”
He said Edwards “either walked or another fisherman tried to give him a ride, so we’re just trying to figure that part out. We’re trying to see if there was anyone else down there who might have tried to help him.”
Leonard said foul play is not suspected in the incident.
“Our initial thought here is that there’s no foul play involved right now,” he said, and the investigation is “not leaning that way” in spite of rumors circulating around the unfortunate incident.
“There’s all kinds of people making up stuff,” Leonard said. “We have no reason to think that anybody hurt Jesse or anything like that. We have no reason to think anybody did anything wrong. After we found the site where it happened and pieced it all together and talked to some people that were out there on the water, it kind of all fits. The timing fits. We had numerous scenarios that we started with, and we started eliminating them, and we’re just down to that one. Now whether he got a ride down the road or walked down the road, we’re still trying to determine that. We’re still working on that part.”
Leonard said anyone who might have had contact with Edwards in the early morning hours of Monday, Aug. 15 should contact the Dallas County Sheriff’s office at 515-993-4567.
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