Death at the Gathering of the Juggalos: Men in a tent unknowingly slept next to corpse

Daniel Hill and Drew Ailes are covering the annual Gathering of the Juggalos in Cave-in-Rock, Illinois for our sister publication, The Riverfront Times.

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Update, 1 p.m., 8/10/13: Reached by phone on Sunday afternoon, Hardin County coroner Jessica Cullum released the name of the man who died as Cory Collins, 24, of Harrisburg, Illinois, a town about 35 miles northwest of the music festival. Cullum said the cause of death was still pending.

More details about the fatal overdose that took place Friday afternoon at the fourteenth annual Gathering of the Juggalos in Cave-In-Rock, Illinois, have emerged. The deceased was a 24-year-old man, according to the coroner, and a source at the scene says his body was found in a tent alongside four others who were sleeping.

See also: Death reported at Gathering of the Juggalos

The incident took place near the seminar tent, central on the Gathering grounds. The man who died, whose name has not been released, reportedly came from the direction of the "drug bridge" two to three hours before his body was found, feeling sick, and asked the owner of a large camping tent if he could have a place to sleep for a while, citing "family" (in reference to the Juggalos' sense of community) in his plea. He was granted accommodations alongside four other individuals who were already sleeping.

See also: Photos from the first day of the Gathering of the Juggalos, 2013

When the owner of the tent, who admitted that he had taken mescaline earlier in the day, returned around 2 p.m. to check on the man, he found that the body was cold. He explained that he went to lift the man's arm up (which reportedly displayed track marks) to check his pulse, but when he did so "the guy's whole body came up -- rigor mortis had begun to set in -- and blood came out of his mouth."

Our source explains that the man then frantically began trying to wake his sleeping friends, telling them that there was a dead man in the tent with them. "These are four dudes that had been sleeping with a corpse." His friends initially thought he was joking or playing a prank -- this sort of twisted humor, centered on death, would not be out of place among Juggalos.

When our source came upon the scene, the owner of the tent was speaking with security and staff, who were in golf carts. Emphatically, he was saying to them "I want you to know that I had nothing to do with this." He was eager to tell his story to whomever would listen. At this time, the nearby "drug bridge" was still open for business.

"You could tell something was wrong," our source tells us of his first impressions on the scene. "There was no crowd, just a few people. But they had ashen faces. I overheard someone say something about a body -- someone asked 'Is there a sick kid?'" A woman speaking Spanish, one of the food vendors, then motioned with her hand across her neck, signaling that he was dead.

The Southern Illinoisan newspaper reports that the Hardin County coroner confirmed the man was 24, but did not release his name because his family had not been notified.

EMS arrived on the scene and entered the tent with an orange box of supplies. "Shortly after that, they zipped up all the windows and closed the front door." Nearby, at the seminar tent, an MC began warming the crowd up for a comedy act, playing the music of the Insane Clown Posse over the loudspeakers and encouraging people to come and hang out. "It was by far the most surreal detail of the whole thing."

We've been seeing usage of 25I-NBOMe, a psychedelic designer drug being passed off as run-of-the-mill acid, though no cause of death has been announced yet, and this man's death is believed to be from a heroin overdose.

A representative at the Hardin County Sheriff's Department referred us to the Illinois State Police, who could not be reached Saturday afternoon. We'll update this story as more information arrives.

See also: Photos from the first day of the Gathering of the Juggalos, 2013





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12 comments
Jason Hornyak
Jason Hornyak

westword... you are like 5 years late on the sociological reporting on juggalos.

Channing Henson
Channing Henson

trag·e·dy [traj-i-dee] noun, plural trag·e·dies. 1. a dramatic composition, often in verse, dealing with a serious or somber theme, typically that of a great person destined through a flaw of character or conflict with some overpowering force, as fate or society, to downfall or destruction.

Keith A. Badje
Keith A. Badje

Apparently Denver has a higher per-capita number of Juggalo's than detroit. It's nothing to be proud of, but that's why we get tons of these stupid juggalo stories. Sucks the dude died, I guess, but I'm kind of sick of 3 or 4 stories PER DAY on my FB feed about a gathering of dysfunctional, dirty, sub-downs-syndrome people in face paint; taking drugs to in the woods symbolize their love an aging, no-talent, white trash, wife beating rap duo that hasn't had a hit (if you stretch the definition and call "The Grear Milenko" one) since 1999. This isn't even happening in Colorado, so, please, shut up about it.

Dennis Scalf
Dennis Scalf

Sad that people die everyday. A tragedy though, huh. But I'm w/ Mickey an perhaps than half of everybody else who likes to read your mag, yet one more article bout these random ass people, who probably don't work but at fast food if that, who paint their faces to fit into a 'group' an go to all these gatherings, I'm DONE!! Where's all the actual music articles for fucks sake?

Gordon Bombay
Gordon Bombay

Thank you westword, this is the best article about juggalos you've posted yet.

Craig Hawkins
Craig Hawkins

I think the real shock is when they find out their child was a Juggalo.

Mickey Lee
Mickey Lee

What is up with the Denver Westword's fascination with Juggalo's all of the sudden? Isn't there anything interesting going on to write about? It is Summer for Christ's sake. Isn't there anything else going on?

Chelsea West
Chelsea West

Man, that is really sad. I hope his family tolerates this news in an okay manner. :/

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