Authorities probe death of EHS student

Shea Capdeville

Seventeen-year-old Enterprise High School junior Walter Shea Capdeville died early last Wednesday morning, Nov. 27, and no one seems to know why. An autopsy was ordered late last week, but the results are not yet known.

"There does not seem to be any foul play or any criminal activity," said Wallowa County District Attorney Dan Ousley Monday afternoon. "The problem at this point is that we just don't know the cause of death."

A pathologist was called in from outside the county to perform the autopsy instead of a forensic pathologist. A forensic pathologist is called in when criminal activity is suspected, said Ousley.

Capdeville's mother Carolyn Jones said that she woke her son the morning of his death and he responded with an audible, but unusual response. When she went back a second time to awaken him for school the day before Thanksgiving he was lifeless.

At 6 a.m. Jones made a 911 call which drew responses from the Enterprise ambulance crew, the Wallowa County Sheriff's Office and the Enterprise Police Department, but Capdeville never regained consciousness.

On the night before his death Capdeville watched television and talked with his mother and close friend Jason Dodson. During the evening Capdeville and Dodson went to Dodson's residence to eat pizza. "He loved pizza and ice cream," said Dodson.

Enterprise students were given the option of going home early from school Wednesday in memory of their loss.

"He loved his friends," said Carolyn Jones.

At 6'2" in height and weighing 192 lbs. Capdeville was out for basketball at the time of his death. In addition to basketball Capdeville enjoyed choir, drama and music. He was a third year Spanish student and had been named the Most Outstanding Spanish Student the previous two years.

Enterprise music instructor Gail Swart had known Capdeville, who she described to be a "shy" student, since he had played a singing Santa Claus in a third grade play. She said the youth was "keenly intelligent," the type of student who could get away with neither doing homework nor studying, yet still ending up with an A for his efforts. "He was honest and expected you to be honest, too," she continued.

Very interested in drama, Capdeville performed in an operetta in junior high school under the direction of Swart and took a lead role in Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" last year under the direction of Teah Evans.

Wallowa County sheriff officers were very closed lipped about the case, referring most questions to the district attorney. Ousley said he had nothing to hide from the public, simply had no answers to the questions being asked. He anticipates that the county's Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Lowell Euhus would be the first to know the autopsy results once the cause of death is determined.

One group interested in the autopsy results is the county's Child Fatality Team which reviews the cause of death of any youth 18 years of age and younger. The goal of the large team is, if possible, to prevent any such deaths in the future.

Counselors were brought into Enterprise High School Wednesday morning last week to help students cope with the news of their classmate's death.

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