WILMINGTON — After four months of investigation and numerous questions from a family in grief, the Wilmington Police Department wrapped its examination into the death of Joseph Valentine Flor D’Auvray III.
The department announced the closed case Friday in a press release: “There are no facts or circumstances unearthed during our investigation or through the autopsy that lead us to believe that this death was anything but a tragic accident.”
D’Auvray, referred to as “Val” by his family, was found lying face down on concrete with a head injury on Monday, April 18, at TRU Colors Brewing on Greenfield Street; an employee called 911 to make the report. WPD officers, detectives and a crime scene investigator arrived shortly thereafter and found damage to a top portion of a fence surrounding an enclosure of beer vats; Val’s body was located nearby.
WPD said “the roof was easily accessible via two ladders on the back of the building” and no findings verified Val’s body was moved or relocated post death.
The department added it interviewed numerous people close to the case, in which no one discussed “relevant non-hearsay information.”
D’Auvray’s family has questioned the WPD’s investigation since May. The father put out a missing person’s report a week before the death of his son — an outpatient at Coastal Horizons, who faced addiction struggles. No one contacted them, he said, after officers had interacted with the 33-year-old a day before he was found deceased at TRU Colors.
According to the family, police said they were dispatched to a nursing home, where Val was attempting to break in. At first, they were told the incident happened on the day of his death, the father said. Police video footage released in July showed it took place the day before.
Police told the family, according to the father, Val was delusional and erratic during the instance. Upon seeing video footage, his father recounted to Port City Daily the young man was speaking clearly about his state of fear and did not seem unsteady, perhaps a bit agitated. He added there was no indication Val was breaking into a facility (the officers did not arrest Val and let him go with a warning).
The video shows officers ran Val’s name through the system upon their encounter yet nothing was flagged about him being missing. The family stated in June they don’t think a report was filed and therefore officers on the scene that night would not have known.
When the police encountered Val, he was fully dressed, also different from the family’s understanding from the onset of the case, when a detective initially told them Val was half-clothed. Video showed Val sporting a Sublime T-shirt and new shoes his family purchased for him. When his body was located just over 24 hours later, he wasn’t wearing the shirt or shoes.
Video footage of his run-in with officers the day before confirm him saying he was being chased by someone with a bat.
“Somebody pissed somebody off — because — they’re after me,” Val said.
“It’s so much purposeful negligence,” Val’s brother, Xan D’Auvray, wrote to Port City Daily Friday upon the announcement of the case’s closing.
He added the family handed over to the police a list of “persons of interest” just a few weeks ago but claimed nothing was done with the information.
WPD noted in its press release evidence did not implicate another person involved in the incident, nor was Val hit with a weapon or other object.
It stated: “We are aware that several rumors have been spread surrounding his tragic death in the days since then and we want to inform the public of the facts of this case.”
An autopsy report from a local medical examiner and neurosurgical physician assistant ruled the death accidental and consistent with a fall, WPD explained in the release. The family requested the autopsy be sent to the Chief Medical Examiners Office in Raleigh, which was obliged.
A forensic pathologist, Dr. Randall Falls Jr., from East Carolina University ruled the death accidental as well, according to WPD, and noted multiple impairing substances were in Val’s system at the time of his death.
Port City Daily has requested the full autopsy and toxicology reports.
WPD consulted with the New Hanover County District Attorney’s Office, including DA Ben David and other senior prosecutors, to analyze the evidence. All determined unless new “direct evidence” comes to light showing criminal activity, the case is closed.
“We are in unanimous agreement that Mr. D’Auvray’s injuries are consistent with trauma that occurred following a fall and not the result of criminal conduct,” David wrote in a press release. “My office is clearing this case with a finding of accidental death.”
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