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Michael Olson, 23 -- Smoke Inhalation

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GALESBURG - The body found Tuesday morning in the rubble of the former O.T. Johnson building has been identified as a missing Galesburg man.
Michael D. Olson, 23, was last seen across the street from 125 E. Main St. about 30 minutes before a fire was reported at 1:32 a.m. Jan. 23 in the O.T. Johnson building. The fire destroyed both the O.T. Johnson building and the former Gross Galesburg building, 152 E. Ferris St.

Police said the identification is based on physical description, clothing and dental X-rays. Based on the autopsy, the preliminary cause of death is smoke inhalation. The autopsy did not indicate foul play.

About 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, forensic dental work was done. The family was notified of the positive identification shortly thereafter.

Contacted this morning, Olson's stepfather, Dave Ryner, who is married to Olson's mother, Becky Ryner, said even with the sense of closure, the family has "mixed emotions. It's not what we wanted, but it's just there. We didn't want this kind of closure. ... Even when we were still living with hope until 4 o'clock (Wednesday), we pretty well knew, but our hope was still there."

Olson's father, Steve Olson, would not comment when contacted this morning.

Olson and his brother, Matt, had been shooting pool at Billiards on Main the night of Jan. 22. Matt Olson had left around midnight and their friend Chris Greene left around 12:45 a.m. Michael Olson left Billiards on Main about 12:50 a.m., stopping at Papa John's around 1 a.m.

He asked to use the restroom, but the business was closed and employees sent Olson on his way.

Olson did not return home and his family reported him missing at 3:40 p.m. Jan. 24.

Search dogs had been taken to the scene of the fire twice. At 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, Olson's body was discovered in an area where the dogs had shown some interest, Galesburg Police Chief John Schlaf said Tuesday afternoon.

Olson's body was discovered about 30 feet north of where the main entrance of O.T. Johnson was on Main Street. It would have been in the wide center aisle of the building, but officials would not say which floor they thought he had been on before the building collapsed.

On Tuesday, police would not give any details about the body they found.

Knox County Coroner Mark Thomas said the autopsy was performed by a forensic pathologist in Peoria Wednesday morning. Samples were taken for toxicology tests. It could take several weeks to receive the results.



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