No cause of death found for Lake Central student
By Christin Nance Lazerus firstname.lastname@example.org August 9, 2012 1:33PM
Construction equipment sits near a new NIPSCO electrical substation at the south end of the Lake Central High School property in St. John, Ind. Thursday August 9, 2012. The body of teenager Levi Evans was discovered nearby Wednesday evening. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 11, 2012 6:14AM
Levi Evans had a passion for music, so much so that he would drum with whatever was available — sticks, pencils, his hands — on any surface, even during math tests.
Friends and family are mourning the death of the outgoing 17-year-old, who was entering his sophomore year at Lake Central High School. Evans’ body was discovered by some students Wednesday night after he didn’t return from a dinner break during band practice at the school in St. John. Evans had walked to Taco Bell for dinner and he was walking back when he collapsed behind the strip mall adjacent to Taco Bell, Lake Central Superintendent Larry Veracco said.
St. John Police Chief Fred Frego said paramedics received a call about an unresponsive body found near a new electric substation on the southeastern edge of the property around 6:35 p.m.
The Lake County Coroner’s Office said Evans did not suffer any trauma to his body, and investigators do not believe he is a victim of foul play. The news release did not specify Evans’ exact injuries or cause of death, pending results of a Thursday autopsy and other tests. Frego said police didn’t find any evidence on Evans that would have contributed to his death.
Evans’ mother, Karen Evans, described her son as a “joy,” who was well-mannered and funny.
“I feel extremely devastated. The only reason that I know it’s real is that I usually pick him up from band practice every evening at 9, but now I can’t do that,” Evans said. “I just feel so lucky that God chose me to be his mom.”
Friends and family gathered to remember Levi’s life at a candlelight vigil Thursday outside the high school.
“It lets me know how special he was in everybody’s life,” Karen Evans said.
Levi’s older sister, Levissa, who graduated from Lake Central in June, will attend Indiana State University this fall on a track scholarship.
Karen Evans said Levi started out playing tenor saxophone in fifth grade, and he also dabbled in alto and baritone sax before joining the drumline. Levi also played drums at Christ United Methodist Church in Gary.
“He always drummed his pencil, doesn’t matter what it is,” Karen Evans said. “He does tricks with sticks, his hands and pencils, and he’s always thinking of new beats.”
Levi’s math teacher Adam Pieters said he was impressed by Levi’s skill on the drums, but he limited Levi to one pencil during tests so as to minimize the noise.
“Levi was just very personable and sociable kid. He was so energetic, with an infectious smile and people just gravitated toward him,” Pieters said. “He was a kid with a lot of athletic ability, but said he wanted to focus on his education and music. He would say ‘I struggle with math’ but he would also work his butt off in math and he loved history and science.”
Levi was named Lake Central High School’s student of the month in November 2011 for significant improvement in academics.