The Delaware County Sheriff’s Department spent Tuesday investigating the unattended death of a Grove teenager, but immediate reports indicate the cause of death was not from physical trauma or questionable circumstances.
Lt. Gayle Wells, chief investigator with the sheriff’s department, said on Monday, May 20, Chase Morris, 16, was playing pingpong with friends, when he became light-headed and left the room.
He was found in distress a time later, when friends went to check on him.
Wells said an ambulance was called, but Morris was taken to the INTEGRIS-Grove Hospital by private car. He was given life-saving efforts at the hospital, but was pronounced dead at the scene.
Morris’ body was taken to the State Medical Examiner’s office in Tulsa, where an autopsy was scheduled to be performed, Wells explained. The his cause of death is unknown.
“He was an athlete, ran and exercised every day, had no sign of a previous illness and no known illness,” Wells said. “He was not taking any medication.
“There is no sign of apparent trauma or questionable circumstances at this time.”
The sheriff’s department routinely investigates unattended deaths, or deaths which take place when a person is not under a doctor’s care, or there is no immediate expectation of death, or no medical professional is in attendance.
“It’s very unusual for a 16-year-old male in that kind of physical condition to die,” Wells said. “That is the reason everyone is concerned.”
A ‘fierce competitor’
Will Jones, Grove High School athletic director, said Morris, was a “fierce competitor” on the Grove High School tennis team.
“He was a very intelligent young man with very big plans for the future,” Jones said.
Morris and his 2 Doubles partner, Clayton Honeycutt, qualified for the state competition. Eliminated by number three seed McAlister, Jones described the three set match as “very competitive.”
“He had a lot of succes, and (would have had a lot of success in the future, in what ever he chose to do,” Jones said.
Grove High School Principal Renae Dozier said the school has lost a “very popular, outgoing and well liked young man.”
“He was full of humor,” Dozier said. “He liked to have the last word, and the last laugh.”
She said outside counselors, as well as the district’s team of counselors, were on hand at the high school throughout the day on Tuesday to help students and teachers process Morris’ death.
Morris is the son of Kim and Michael Morris of Grove. He was a member of the junior class at Grove High School. Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 24, at Worley-Luginbuel Funeral Home, Grove. Services will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 25, at Church of the Shepherd (COS) in Grove.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked memorials be made to The Chase Morris Memorial Tennis Fund, c/o Grand Savings Bank in Grove.