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Monday, June 28, 2010

Authorities confirm missing Brentwood man was struck and killed on 405 Freeway over the weekend

A man found dead on the San Diego (405) Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass early Saturday was identified today as the 20-year-old Brentwood resident who failed to return home from a party in Bel Air.

Authorities used fingerprints in identifying the freeway victim as James Daniel O'Connel, said Lt. Fred Corral of the coroner's office.

O'Connel, who attended Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, was last seen alive early Saturday at a party on Lancelot Lane, which he attended with his brother, according to a Los Angeles police statement.

He left the party on foot.

O'Connel's mother reported him missing later Saturday, and police dispatched helicopter crews and patrol officers to search for him, said LAPD Sgt. Carlton Cook of the West Los Angeles station.

"There were no unusual circumstances,' Cook said. 

"He was in good mental condition.'

O'Connel's family hired a private detective and brought in a bloodhound to aid in the search, according to Cook.

Friends used the social networking website Twitter in an effort to locate him.

This afternoon, investigators confirmed that the missing man was the same person found dead on the northbound San Diego Freeway near Getty Center Driver about 2:30 a.m. Saturday.

When CHP officers arrived, they found the man dead in freeway lanes.

It appeared the man had been struck by two vehicles, Lt. Cheryl MacWillie of the coroner's office said earlier. The drivers of those vehicles sped away before officers arrived, authorities said.

All lanes of the freeway were closed for nearly five hours as authorities investigated the death.

The initial report indicated that the freeway victim was a white male of about 35 years old -- 15 years older than O'Connel.
 - CNS

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