Charles Ebbert, who turned 87 in April, died from a lethal overdose, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. He had been reported missing since June and was last seen in Chicago by family members.
Police say that Ebbert and his 8-year-old grandson, an African-American, were seen together on June 14 entering the brand-new northwest CTA Red Line platform in Chicago’s downtown. About two weeks later, his body was found in a patch of grass at a park close to the station. Ebbert, who was homebound, may have accidentally overdosed by using insulin despite not being diabetic, according to medical examiners. They did not perform a toxicology report because Ebbert’s body was decomposed, according to the Chicago Tribune.
According to medical examiner’s investigator Rickey Fells, Ebbert’s grandson and another son of his had previously reported Ebbert missing, with another son reporting him missing on July 8. Police told the Chicago Tribune that a relative last saw Ebbert alive on June 21.
According to police records, police officers investigated Ebbert’s disappearance on June 28, June 30, July 8 and 10. While police haven’t released names of Ebbert’s family members who reported him missing, police said that three of Ebbert’s adult sons had filed missing person reports and said that they had requested mental health treatment. Police records also note that at least one of Ebbert’s adult sons was arrested in 1999 and was on probation.
Ebbert’s grandson told Chicago Tribune that he was unaware of any domestic violence in his grandfather’s relationship with his grandmother, Regina Riley.
“I would never think of this at all,” Ebbert said. “We were close. I loved him more than anything in the world. I love him more than my whole family.”
The Chicago Tribune interviewed 17 people whose children attended the Lincoln Park Academy Charter School, where Ebbert was a senior the last time they all saw him. They told the newspaper that Ebbert was a generous man who helped provide for his family. A middle school teacher told the Tribune that he remembered Ebbert dressed well for school and always wearing a gray suit.
Towards the end of his life, Ebbert was dealing with the last remnants of diabetes after several transfusions, including through a dialysis machine, a Chicago Tribune profile said.