Death of friend instills fear

By Gary Brode |, Anna Carrera , Maggie Hockenberry

Published 08/10 2014 02:22PM

Updated 08/19 2014 11:27AM

Latest: 10:01 pm, 8/18/14, Monday
CHAMPAIGN -- People in the homeless community are scared after their friend was found dead; the victim of a homicide. 50-year old Lonnie Scheel was found near the Springfield Avenue viaduct two weeks ago.

Now, people are worried about their safety. It's because no one knows if it's deliberate or a random act of violence. If it was random, executive director of C-U at Home Melany Jackson worries someone could be preying on homeless people.

The fear of danger while living on the streets is always there, but it's been even worse lately. It took nearly two weeks for police to release Scheel's name because they were attempting to find family. He does have family in Champaign and Bloomington.

Jackson says Scheel struggled with addiction, but was trying to turn his life around. One man says the area where Scheel was found is known for heroin users. Champaign Police have not said whether drugs were involved or what a motive could be.
Latest: 4:23 pm, 8/18/14, Monday
CHAMPAIGN COUNTY -- The name of a homeless man found dead near an area viaduct has been released. The Champaign County Coroner says 50-year old Lonnie Scheel was found about ten days ago off Springfield Avenue. Police are investigating his death as a homicide.
Update: 6:01 pm, 8/11/14, Monday
CHAMPAIGN -- An autopsy determined a man was murdered. Police still have questions. The coroner says the man died from injuries inflicted by someone other than himself.

He was found dead behind a building on the east side of Springfield Avenue, about 11 am, Saturday, by a passerby. The Champaign County Coroner pronounced him dead at the scene.

The victim's name hasn't been released because authorities are still trying to notify the family. The exact cause of death hasn't been released because it's part of a criminal investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers. You can remain anonymous and may earn a cash reward.

Champaign County Crime Stoppers
(217) 373 - TIPS
Text: CCTip + info to CRIMES (274637)
Original: 2:22 pm, 8/10/14, Sunday
CHAMPAIGN -- Police are investigating a possible homicide. A man was found just south of the Springfield Avenue viaduct.

Authorities believe the man is a local homeless man, but they are not releasing his name. There is no official cause of death yet, but the police are calling it "suspicious."

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