Police: Kelly's death apparent suicide

Police say no foul play involved
September 16, 2009 6:01:16 AM PDT
Suburban police say it appears the death of Chris Kelly was a suicide. The former advisor and chief fundraiser for Rod Blagojevich died Saturday. Police say Kelly had tried to kill himself earlier last week after pleading guilty to fraud charges.

It was a quiet, somber scene. Mourners filed in to pay their respects Tuesday night to Kelly, including the former first lady of Illinois, Patti Blagojevich.

"I'm with my daughter," said Patti Blagojevich.

"I wouldn't be here if Mr. Kelly didn't mean something to me, and I think there are a lot of people who feel the exact same way," said one man attending the wake.

As Kelly's wake was beginning, Country Club Hills police were holding a news conference, ruling out homicide as a possibility.

"There appears to be no evidence of foul play," said Country Club Hills Police Chief Regina Evans.

"Mr. Kelly's death was an apparent suicide," said Country Club Hills Mayor Dwight Welch.

Police revealed Tuesday that the former chief fundraiser for ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich made a suicide attempt last week, just hours after pleading guilty to fraud charges in federal court. Police say he swallowed a large number of pills. Friends drove him to Oak Forest Hospital, but he did not go in.

"They agreed that Mr. Kelly would seek help with his feelings of depression," said Evans.

But instead, four days later, they say he tried again. Police say he laid out a sleeping bag and pictures of his three children before ingesting a large number of pills - over-the-counter pain killers, including aspirin and ibuprofen. An unopened box of rat poison was also found at the scene.

From there, Kelly drove his SUV to a nearby lumber yard parking lot where he sent text messages to his girlfriend, Clarissa Flores-Buhelos. Police say one of them read, "Come and get me. I need help."

When Flores-Buhelos arrived, Kelly was slumped over in his Cadillac Escalade, which she drove again to Oak Forest Hospital.

Hours later, Kelly would be transferred to Stroger Hospital, where he died.

Police also revealed Tuesday they have a note that Kelly left behind. But they stopped short of calling it a suicide note.

"I would say it was more rambling. But I really don't want to get into details out of respect for his family," said Evans.

Chief Evans says that note has been sent to the state crime lab for analysis, including determining whether Kelly actually wrote it.

Kelly was scheduled to report to federal prison this Friday, but his funeral will be held instead. Former Gov. Blagojevich will attend the service, according to a statement released by his publicist.


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