Dade County deputies are investigating the death of a soldier who died after visiting his hometown. Many in the community of Lockwood say Chad Clayton, 30, got into a fight with another man.
Chad Clayton's mother, Shelley James, says her son wanted to be an organ donor. The family waited to take Clayton off life support until arrangements to donate his organs could be made. “It meant a lot to him he really, really wanted to serve his country,” James said.
After serving about 11 months in Afghanistan as a supply specialist, Clayton's homecoming eased his mother's mind. “I was glad he was home safe,” James said. After returning in October of last year, Clayton started school at Missouri State University in Springfield. He was studying criminal justice. His mother says he came back to Lockwood last Friday to visit. Around 12:30 a.m., someone called 911 to report Clayton was passed out inside a home. “I don't think words can express it," James said. "I don't have any words to express it.”
The Dade County Sheriff Steve Stapp says because he had head trauma, an ambulance rushed Clayton to a Springfield hospital where he later died. “He loved life and he had a really good sense of humor he was very proud to serve his country it meant a lot to him,” James said. The mother says she always worried her son could die overseas but not at home -- after visiting his hometown.
Stapp says it is too early to call this a homicide investigation. He says deputies are still interviewing possible witnesses and comparing their statements to evidence found at the scene. The Dade County coroner says he has determined a cause of death but cannot release it until the investigation is complete.