Investigators: Hancock County veteran's death was likely an acci - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Investigators: Hancock County veteran's death was likely an accident

Friends and family members created a memorial for Alex Toups close to where his body was found in a lake in Hancock County on Sunday. (Photo source: WLOX) Friends and family members created a memorial for Alex Toups close to where his body was found in a lake in Hancock County on Sunday. (Photo source: WLOX)
By Monday afternoon the memorial included dozens of candles, mementos, and a cross bearing the letters R.I.P. (Photo source: WLOX) By Monday afternoon the memorial included dozens of candles, mementos, and a cross bearing the letters R.I.P. (Photo source: WLOX)
Friends and family pay respects at a memorial site for Alex Toups after his body was found in Hancock County. (Photo source: WLOX) Friends and family pay respects at a memorial site for Alex Toups after his body was found in Hancock County. (Photo source: WLOX)
HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

Hancock County investigators say there’s nothing to indicate foul play led to Alex Toups’ death.  Witness interviews done the last two days by detectives indicate the Waveland man was drinking in the hours before he fell into a Hancock County lake. A group of teens discovered his body in the water near Lakeshore Road in Hancock County Sunday evening. An autopsy to determine exactly how he died will be done Tuesday.

While investigators spent Monday searching for clues, Toups' friends and family members spent the day searching for comfort. Many found it at the spot where he was found, and a makeshift memorial has been built. 

There wasn't a negative word spoken as memories of 28-year-old Alex Toups were shared. Friends, both new and old, visited the site to comfort one another and swap stories.

"He was one of a kind," said high school friend and football teammate, Joseph Cunningham.

"Upstanding, respectable, kind, loving, fun," said Cherie Ellington.

She remembered the first time Alex entered her bar in Bay Saint Louis. She said she quickly got to know Alex and his character.

Seeing the memorial scattered with various tributes and candles showed her how much he was loved. One candle in particular reminded Ellington of Alex.

"The wind's blowing every which direction and that one candle is staying lit. That's just like Alex. His light will never die, his flame will never die," said Ellington.

According to Ellington, his legacy will always remain through his friends, his daughter and other family members, and his fellow servicemen.

"He was an American hero," said Ellington.

Alex served for about a decade in the military. A love for the military is something that Alex shared with one of his best friends, Chris Byrd. On one of their deployments, Alex told Byrd that they had to get together when they got back stateside.

"Sure enough, when we both got home, got back here, we linked back up and stuck it together every day almost. Side by side," said Byrd.

Byrd described Alex as always laughing, upbeat, and never having a bad day. The question that remains is why Alex lost his life. But, Byrd said he has faith that the answer will come soon enough.

"We all know God takes them young. Takes his best soldiers at a young age," said Byrd.

Again, the details of an autopsy are expected to be released on Tuesday.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly