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IL- Accused sex offender's death ruled a suicide

9-12-2008 Illinois:

PEKIN - A Tazewell County Coroner's Jury ruled Thursday that the death of an accused child molester was a suicide.

Brad A. Mason, 48, of 1506 S. Capitol St., Pekin, was found dead against the door inside his detached garage about 10:40 a.m. July 23. An autopsy and toxicology reports indicated that he died of carbon monoxide toxicity with a level of 81 percent in his blood stream, said Tazewell County Coroner Dennis Conover. He said 35 percent saturation is typically enough to kill most people.

Pekin police detective Rick Von Rohr said Mason had hooked a drier hose up to the tailpipe of his car and then placed the other end inside the car. His body was found against a regular-size entryway door at the back of the garage as if he were trying to leave the garage and collapsed, Von Rohr said.

Inside the car were pictures of loved ones, a cell phone, a one-hitter cannabis pipe and other personal keepsake items, said Von Rohr.

Von Rohr said that he was notified on July 22 that a 15-year-old girl had told her boyfriend that Mason was fondling her. The boyfriend went to Mason's home and confronted him and yelling ensued. Mason forbid the boy to return to the house.

The girl then told her mother, Mason's girlfriend, that Mason had been touching her. The woman filed for an order of protection and then left the home to stay with a family member, said Von Rohr. Officers were dispatched to the home on July 23 to serve the order of protection on Mason, which would have required him to leave the home. The girlfriend was there and told police she could not open the garage door.

Von Rohr had arrived to search the home. When the girlfriend retrieved the garage door opener from the house and opened the door, officers found Mason. The car key was still in the on position but the car had run out of gas. The small detached garage, he said, would have filled quickly with fumes.

Von Rohr said neighbors last saw Mason at about 10 to 10:30 p.m. on July 22 when he backed his car into the garage - which they said was unusual because he never parked the car in the small garage.

While investigating in the house, detectives found three messages on the answering machine. The last message was from Mason, left at 12:01 a.m., which said, "I didn't do what she said. I love you forever. Don't go into the garage. Let someone else go in." Von Rohr said Mason sounded very upset on the message.

Von Rohr said he never had the chance to question Mason or his 15-year-old accuser. He had not been charged with any crime. Mason's death closed the case, he said. Mason had no previous record of sexual abuse, said Von Rohr. ..News Source.. by Sharon Woods Harris

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