Ricky Johnson, David Harrington and Clayton McGeeney were found dead after watching a Chiefs game at a friend's home in Kansas City, Missouri, on Jan. 9
Several questions remain unanswered after three men were found dead in the backyard of their friend’s home on Jan. 9.
Ricky Johnson, David Harrington and Clayton McGeeney’s bodies were discovered on Jan. 9, two days after they gathered at their friend Jordan Willis' home to watch a Kansas City Chiefs game on Jan. 7. McGeeney’s fiancé went looking for him and called the police when she saw him dead on Willis’ back porch.
The Kansas City Police Department told PEOPLE that after responding to her call, they confirmed they found a dead body. "Upon further investigation, officers located two other dead bodies in the backyard," a spokesperson for the KCPD said.
John Picerno, Willis’ attorney, told PEOPLE in a statement that his client “is unaware of how his friends died,” and is “anxiously awaiting the results of the autopsy and toxicology report.”
While the KCPD said that “there were no obvious signs of foul play observed at or near the crime scene,” and that it wasn’t ruled a homicide investigation, the deceased’s families suspected they weren’t getting the full story.
“Nothing is adding up," Johnson’s brother, Jonathan Price, told PEOPLE. "But primarily Jordan’s story does not add up whatsoever."
From the details of the night the three men died to the questions that still remain unanswered, here’s everything to know about the mysterious deaths of Ricky Johnson, David Harrington and Clayton McGeeney.
Who were the men found dead outside of their friend’s house?
Johnson, Harrington and McGeeney were three close friends who often posted with each other on their social media before their deaths in early January 2024. Johnson's brother told PEOPLE that he would see Johnson post with Harrington and McGeeney, but he wasn’t very familiar with Willis, who was renting the home where the men died.
Price added that Johnson, who was 38 years old when he died, went to high school with Harrington and McGeeney, who were 37 and 36 respectively, while Willis went to a nearby school.
Johnson ran his father’s business, Johnson’s Construction, in Kansas City and was an avid sports fan, always rooting for the Chiefs. He was also a father of three girls — 14, 9 and 4 — whom he “loved spending time” with, as his mother, Norma Chester, told PEOPLE.
“He would've done anything for his girls,” she said. “He didn't deserve this."
“Just the thought of him dying and them him sitting outside in the cold for two days,” he said. “It’s extremely devastating. The whole family is messed up. He was such a good person.”
Per a GoFundMe started on behalf of April, McGeeney’s fiancée, the victim was a subcontractor for a small construction company. In an interview with The Kansas City Star, another cousin explained that McGeeney was “on a good path,” turning his life around after a few issues with traffic violations and child support.
Jennifer Marquez, Harrington’s mother, told WDAF that the call informing her of her son’s death was the “most devastating moment of [her] life.”
“It’s a huge loss. He’s everything,” she told the outlet. “He’s a brother, he has a sister, Carmen, a brother, Sebastian. They’re missing him, and they are broken-hearted they will never see their brother again."
What happened on the night of their deaths — and what remains unclear?
On the night of Jan. 7, the three friends went over to Willis’ rented house in Kansas City to watch the Chiefs play. While initial reports stated that it was just the four of them present at the home, WDAF later reported that a fifth friend was there that night, but left earlier in the evening.
The exact timeline of the events that followed remains unclear.
In a statement to PEOPLE, Picerno claimed that his client Willis last saw the men when they left his house and he went bed. "He had no knowledge that they remained in his backyard," the attorney added.
Via an email to PEOPLE, Picerno acknowledged WDAF's report that there was a fifth man at the house, but said that "he left maybe an hour or two before the other three,” and added that "Jordan is not exactly sure of that time period."
However, WDAF reported that Picerno has since said that Willis went to sleep before the three men left.
“When he would have people over at his house, yes sometimes as people, they get tired, they’re people that are very close to you and you feel comfortable going to bed and allowing them to leave when they want to leave,” he said, per WDAF.
After toxicology reports found traces of substances in the men's systems, many questions continued to remain unanswered. Tony Kagay, an attorney representing McGeeney's mother, Nancy Bossert, and his fiancée told FOX Digital that “there are attempts being made to resolve” these, however, he cautioned that "a lot of these questions may never be answered in a way that makes people satisfied."
What has the friend who rented the home said about their deaths?
Willis has not spoken publicly about the case, but Picerno has given statements on his behalf. After the police arrived, Picerno said Willis “allowed them into the house, told them all he knew, and voluntarily consented to a search of his home.”
Two of the victims’ cars were found parked on his street, per WDAF-TV, but Picerno said it wasn’t “unusual” for Willis’ friends to leave their cars there overnight.
According to Picerno, all Willis wants is “answers.” The attorney told NewsNation, “He’s known them for over 20 years. They’re his friends. He’s deeply hurt by their passing.”
Picerno also added that while concerned family members did knock on Willis’ door over the course of the two days before the bodies were discovered, he did not hear them as he slept with earbuds and a loud fan, per the statement. He said Willis did not receive any text messages or phone calls regarding the three men and did not see a Facebook message from one of their wives before the police came.
However, the families of the victims have pointed out other inconsistencies in Picerno’s statements. In an interview with NewsNation, Picerno said his client “was home sporadically” in the two days before his friends’ bodies were found.
A few days later, however, he claimed Willis never left the house between Sunday and Tuesday, when the police came. “What I meant to say on NewsNation is that … he was sleeping, and he left his bedroom sporadically,” Picerno said, per WDAF.
How did the three men die?
The manner and time of death of the three men are currently still unknown as police await an autopsy and toxicology report from the medical examiner. However, early toxicology reports as of Feb. 1 showed "several" substances were found in the victims' bodies, which they later revealed to be cocaine and fentanyl.
In a statement to PEOPLE, the police said that Willis was cooperative with them when they discovered the dead bodies. They added that they were not ruling the situation a homicide case.
“The cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner, that determination/investigation by them is underway,” the statement read. “There have not been any arrests/charges, and no one is in custody.”
The KCPD also added that there were “no specific threats or concerns” to the surrounding community, and characterized the case as a “death investigation.”
“This still remains a death investigation and nothing more,” she said. “We still have no evidence or indication of foul play, no one is in police custody."
Following the Feb. 1 update, Gonzalez doubled down to PEOPLE in a statement that the case "remains an ongoing death investigation."
"Currently, there have been no additional details or reports of this case revealed to any media, nor are there any plans to at this time," she told PEOPLE in a statement on Feb. 5. "Both KCPD Detectives and the Platte County Prosecutor's Office have been in touch with the deceased men’s families and remain in contact with them as the investigation unfolds."
Who is the fifth friend who was at the home that night?
The name of the fifth friend there that night has not been released, however, Picerno confirmed to PEOPLE that he left before the other three and that Willis went to sleep before the others left.
However, WDAF has since reported that the attorney told them his client did not go to bed before they left and, instead, he escorted the three to the door before falling asleep on the couch.
WDAF interviewed the fifth individual, who had a different version of events. The person emphasized to the outlet that all four men were awake when he left. Andrew Talge, the fifth individual’s attorney, told the station that Willis and the three men were watching Jeopardy! on TV when his client left around midnight.
What have the men's families said about their deaths?
The families of the victims have been vocal about their suspicions of the situation. Price, Johnson’s brother, told PEOPLE he thought they may have had something that wasn't alcohol.
“If I were to give a hypothesis ... for the three men to die in the way that they did, something had to have been in their system," he told PEOPLE. "Whether or not it was taken knowingly, I wouldn't answer that."
He added, “But something was taken because three grown men do not freeze to death at the temperatures that were there at the time with just alcohol involved."
While the police are still awaiting the toxicology report, Price said he has his doubts about the sobriety of the individuals.
“There's no way that a coincidence of three grown men who all are fairly smart individuals would die in that way on the same night without something else being involved,” he said. “Even if one of them was not inebriated, they would've brought the other two inside."
Alan McGeeney told KCTV that he also felt something was amiss in the story of how his cousin died.
“100% I think the situation is strange,” he said. “I’m not looking for anyone’s head or anything, but my cousin was frozen to the dirt for two days.”
Meanwhile, Harrington's mom, Marquez, said she just wants answers — and doesn’t feel she is getting them.
“I’m furious. Everybody is furious,” Marquez told WDAF. “Nobody believes this story. None of his friends, none of the families, none of us believe.”
After the toxicology reports showed traces of substances in the dead men's bodies, Harrington's stepmother, Theresa Harrington, told NewsNation's Chris Cuomo that the discovery made her feel there was "more to the story."
“David wasn’t a drug addict, or anything like that," she said. "We keep getting answers that they’re still investigating. So there’s something there that they’re saying ‘maybe that’s not right’ as well.”
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