Police say body found in Knox County field was crash victim

Police say a Galesburg man, whose body was found in a field, died of exposure after he was involved in a wreck.

The body of 38-year-old Shannon Porter was found Tuesday, January 14, 2014 nearly 600 feet from the road in a field in the 1800 block of Knox Road 500 E.

Now, police say they think Porter was a passenger in a vehicle wrecked nearby three days before he was found.

Deputies were sent to a single-vehicle rollover crash at the same address just before 4:30 a.m. Saturday, January 11.  They found the vehicle upside down and partially submerged in water.  Police said 54-year-old Randy Knotts, of Galesburg, was pinned under the overturned vehicle.  Knotts was taken to a hospital by ambulance.

Police said Knotts told them someone named “Shane” was driving when the vehicle crashed.  Knotts allegedly told police he remembered seeing Porter trying to help him get out of the vehicle and that Porter then left on foot.

“The passenger inside the vehicle couldn’t give any more information about the person who was allegedly driving. That led officers to believe he may be indeed lying about someone else being there,” said Knox County Sheriff’s Department Detective Jason Landers.

“Responders checked the immediate area for a second person but no one was located nor was there any tracks noted in the area,” said a statement from the Knox County Sheriff’s Department.

When Porter’s body was found, police said initial information did not indicate any foul play was involved.  Following a January 15 autopsy, police said Porter did not have injuries that could have caused his death.

“The cause of death is due to exposure with the results of the toxicology report to be completed later,” according to the sheriff’s department statement.  The statement noted a house was in “close proximity” to where the wrecked vehicle was found.

“Our assumption at this time was the he was fleeing from police because he knew he was driving the vehicle and would be in trouble,” said Detective Landers.

Police said Knotts was released from the hospital the day after the wreck.  He was arrested January 15, and held in the Knox County Jail on an unrelated Knox County warrant issued in December for failure to appear.

Updated January 30:  The Knox County Sheriff’s Office says Knotts was charged January 24, 2014 with two felony counts of obstructing justice in connection with their investigation.  Knotts was held in the Knox County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bond.

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