ALTON — A man found dead in the woods behind East Elementary School was a suspect in a Dec. 5 armed robbery at Casey’s General Store.
In a press release Thursday, Madison County Coroner Stephen P. Nonn said the body of Justin D. Joyce, 34, was discovered Wednesday in a wooded area off Washington Avenue, near East Elementary School. Joyce was pronounced dead at the scene by Madison County Coroner’s Investigator Diondra Horner at 12:47 p.m. Jan. 6.
The coroner's investigation has not yielded any evidence of foul play in association with the death. Joyce appeared to have died as a result of hanging. Toxicology testing for the presence of alcohol and drugs remains pending. The death remains under investigation by the Alton Police Department.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Joyce was charged with armed robbery at the Casey’s, 2530 E. Broadway. According to media reports, he displayed a hatchet during the robbery.
Alton School District Assistant Superintendent Kristie Baumgartner said a student on the baseball field saw the body Wednesday during afternoon recess for fourth- and fifth-graders. The student alerted teachers, who immediately brought all of the students inside and contacted police.
A social work team visited the school Wednesday and Thursday to work with students who had questions or were experiencing concerns about the incident, Baumgartner said.
“We will continue that effort each day moving forward as determined by need,” she said.
School stayed in session and dismissed at the normal time Wednesday.
The district also sent phone and email messages to East Elementary parents Wednesday afternoon to explain what had occurred.
Follow @NewsAdVantage on Twitter