ST. JOHN | Six weeks after the body of 17-year-old Levi Evans was found on Lake Central High School property, the cause of his death remains a mystery, and his family is at odds over its fate.
His mother is seeking its immediate cremation. His father wants the body available if further investigation is needed.
Evans was found dead about 6:30 p.m. Aug. 8 in the far southeast corner of the school property near a new power substation, a police report states.
The teen was last seen about 4:30 p.m. by employees of a nearby Taco Bell. Evans was reported running westbound from the restaurant.
There were no unusual marks on the body, according to the police report.
In recent days, St. John Police Chief Fred Frego said the cause of the boy's death remains inconclusive until final results of the autopsy and toxicology tests are released by the Lake County coroner's office.
Frego said a doctor involved in the case had told him there was no apparent trauma to the boy's body.
"It remains pending," said Jessica Metros, spokeswoman for the coroner's office.
"Coroner (Merrilee) Frey is very aware of the sensitivity of the case as far as keeping the family informed," Metros said Friday. "We are as anxious to get the reports as the family so we can help bring closure."
Metros declined to say when the reports may be released.
In the meantime, the boy's parents are disputing the destination of the boy's remains, currently in a Gary funeral home. The funeral home declined to comment.
The boy's mother, Karen Evans, declined to comment regarding the proceedings in probate court, where a hearing was held Sept. 12 behind closed doors.
Probate Commissioner Donald Stepanovich said, after the hearing, he has the authority to close hearings on private matters of no public interest.
Court records show Stepanovich set another hearing for Oct. 3.
Court records indicate the court appointed an unnamed "personal representative" for the boy Aug. 22 with Karen Evans objecting five days later and seeking the boy's remains.
The boy's paternal grandmother, Ann Simms, of Merrillville, said the dispute centers on Karen Evans' wish for immediate cremation. Her son, Levi Evans Sr., wants to wait for final reports from the coroner's office.
Levi Evans Sr. has been out of town in recent days, Simms said.
"Why would you want to cremate your child until you know what happened to your child?" Simms said.