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Authorities: Former NIU worker drowned in Oregon

Published: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 6:02 p.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 10:31 p.m. CST

OREGON – The former Northern Illinois University employee whose body was found Monday in the Rock River drowned, an autopsy confirmed Tuesday.

No foul play is suspected in the death of Elmer N. Leeds, 91, of Oregon, police Chief Darin DeHaan said. Officials do not know how long his body had been in the water.

Leeds’ body was found about 8:40 a.m. by a couple fishing near Kiwanis Park. A gray “Jeep” baseball cap, a cane and a red flannel shirt were found on the bank, but no wallet, ID or vehicle was found.

Police conducted a door-to-door canvass of the neighborhood, and about 3:30 p.m. found a group of men who thought the description of the body matched their neighbor.

Inside the apartment, police found a photo of Leeds.

Leeds, a World War II Marine Corps veteran, worked in maintenance at NIU before he retired, according to his obituary from Farrell-Holland Gale Funeral Home in Oregon.

He had lived in Oregon since 1972, where he was a member of Oregon VFW Post 8739 and American Legion Post 97.

Go to for the complete obituary, or to post condolences.

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