The families of the three Kansas City Chiefs fans who mysteriously died in the backyard of a friend’s home after a watch party earlier this month are grappling with mounting questions about their loved ones’ final moments.
More than three weeks after Clayton McGeeney, 36; David Harrington, 37; and Ricky Johnson, 38, were found frozen to death behind a Kansas City, Missouri, home, authorities issued a statement saying that no foul play was suspected.
However, questions remain unanswered as to why the bodies were found on 9 January, two days after the men were last seen, or how homeowner Jordan Willis did not hear worried family members who came knocking on his door after not hearing from McGeeney, Harrington and Johnson.
Mr Willis’ attorney John Picerno has said that his client had nothing to do with his friends’ deaths, while authorities have categorically denied that they’re investigating the deaths as homicides. But what prevented the three men from seeking shelter from the unforgiving Missouri winter cold?
“Does he know when they left, or does he not?” Johnson’s brother Jonathan Price asked on Fox News. “There are way too many questions still that need to be answered. And nobody can answer them but Jordan.”
With autopsy and toxicology results still pending, this is what we still don’t know about the tragedy:
When did the men leave Mr Willis’ home?
Mr Picerno had initially said that his client saw his friends leave before going to bed, but has since said that according to Mr Willis’ accounts of events, he went to bed while his three friends were still inside his home.
It remains unclear at what time the men left the home or if they were wearing proper clothing when they went outside.
“If you have to change your story, then how do we know it’s true?” Mr Price told Fox News, adding that authorities have not been forthcoming with information.
How did the three men die?
A cause and manner of death have not been officially released, pending autopsy results. However, Mr Picerno said in different media interviews that the evidence suggested McGeeney, Harrington and Johnson died of hypothermia.
That weekend, Kansas City saw below-freezing temperatures that reached the teens. It remains unclear for how long the men stood outside in the cold, or whether they made attempts to seek shelter inside Mr Willis’ home or other properties nearby.
The attorney added that his client was “anxiously awaiting the results of the autopsy and toxicology report,” and that they both wanted “to express our deepest sympathies to the friends and family members of these young men, and our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
“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.”
Why did it take two days to find the bodies?
The men were found at Mr Willis’ property on 9 January, two days after they had arrived.
According to Mr Picerno, Mr Willis was unaware that loved ones had been trying to locate his three missing friends.
“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.”
Mr Price told Fox that it was McGeeney’s fiancée who called authorities after breaking inside Mr Willis’ home and finding one of the bodies on the porch.
“She announced her presence, and there was no answer,” Mr Price said. “So she continued her search... As soon as she found someone on the back porch, she immediately called the police. And when the police showed up, that’s when Jordan answered the door as if he had no idea anything was going on.”
Why didn’t the men go inside their cars to shelter from the cold?
Mr Picerno said two cars that belonged to his friends were parked in his street, but Mr Willis didn’t notice the cars because they were not parked in his driveway.
Authorities have not confirmed whether McGeeney, Harrington and Johnson had keys on them or whether they attempted to get inside the cars.
Why did we only learn about a fifth friend at the gathering last week?
Mr Picerno 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.
Did family members try to reach Mr Willis?
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.
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.
What will the toxicology report show?
Toxicology results are still pending. Authorities are investigating whether alcohol or drugs were involved.
“I don’t think I can fully heal until I know what happened,” Mr Price said.