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Police probe death of Iowa man along Interstate 88

Published: Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 11:13 p.m. CDT

DIXON – An investigation into the death of an Iowa man on an Illinois freeway won't include an examination of why his body was discovered 12 hours after motorists first reported seeing the man, alive, on the side of the road, Illinois State Police said Thursday.

Troopers dispatched the night of Nov. 12 to Interstate 88 near Dixon did not see signs of the man at least two passers-by called 911 to report they spotted him on the ground waving his arms on the freeway's shoulder, state police spokeswoman Monique Bond said.

The body of longtime teacher Lee Catlin, 65, of Bettendorf, Iowa, was found near there the next day.

It's not immediately clear why Catlin was on the freeway.

The Lee County coroner's office has determined that no foul play was suspected in Catlin's death, though Bond said the state police investigation of the death continues.

But Bond stressed "there's no internal investigation" about the length of time it took to find Catlin's body since a trucker first told a Lee County dispatcher shortly before 8:30 p.m. Nov. 12 that he saw a man along the freeway "waving his arms back and forth."

Another motorist made a similar observation in calling 911 some 16 minutes later, noting there was "no car around" the man, according to 911 tapes first obtained and reported by Sauk Valley Media.

Neither motorist stopped to assist the man, with the trucker rationalizing to the dispatcher "there's too many weird things going on nowadays."

Bond said troopers dispatched to investigate the reports found no signs of the man.

"We did respond, but there was nothing there when we did respond," she said. "It does appear alcohol was a contributing factor (in Catlin's death). We just don't know. Maybe he had passed out someplace, then again got up (and collapsed elsewhere). It's unclear, and it's unfortunate."

When it comes to state police's response, she said, "all protocols and procedures were followed."

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