ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) – An Ohio man is trying to figure out why his son was found dead after being released from the St. Louis County Jail.

“How many people do you know that can walk out of a jail at 6 months with seven felonies, with several misdemeanors, and $150,000 bond?” Larry Ealy said.

Ealy said his son, Ladonte Ealy, grew up in Dayton, Ohio. He said his son was passing through St. Louis when he got into trouble early this year.

“He faced down four or five different police officers, they had guns. He broke into three houses trying to get to California. It was a mess,” Ealy said.

Ladonte, 25, spent six months in the St. Louis County Jail before he was released in September. His body was found in the Wabash River on Sept. 18. Investigators believe he had been dead for 10 to 12 days. The timeline means he had only been released a few days before he died. His body was identified on Nov. 10, thanks to his tattoos and dental records.

Larry Ealy believes his son was murdered. He tells News 4 that a friend picked Ladonte up from jail when he was released. The friend told Larry that Ladonte got out of the car in Illinois. Larry says that Ladonte had schizophrenia and was probably not in a good state of mind.

“Whoever this is [that I murdered my son], they were calculated, they knew what they were doing, they targeted him and they might have seen he was suffering from some sort of mental illness,” said Ealy.

Ealy said his son was suicidal but he doesn’t believe this was a suicide. He believes someone was on Ladonte’s Facebook page after investigators estimated he was already dead.

“We didn’t know he was gone all this time,” Ealy said. “I’d been looking for two and a half months. Whoever killed him, tried to make me believe he was still alive but now we are going to try and catch his killers.”

The St. Louis County Prosecutor’s office said, “He was ordered by the court to seek and maintain mental treatment among other conditions of his probation. It’s tragic that he was offered a second chance and it ended this way.”

Before his release, Ealy pled guilty to the following charges:

  • First-degree burglary
  • First-degree attempted burglary
  • Second-degree assault
  • Resisting arrest

The judge sentenced him to three years probabtion and requested that his probation be transferred to Ohio. The judge said Ealy must maintain mental health treatment as directed, have no further contact with all victims, maintain full-time employment or schooling, and pay a total of $1,012 in restitution at a rate of $34 a month.

The Effingham County Coroner said Ladonte’s autopsy and toxicology reports have not come back yet. The investigation into what happened is in the preliminary stages.

If you know anything about the case you are asked to call the coroners office at 217-821-5533.

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