CHICAGO -- A former fundraiser for ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich tried to commit suicide last Tuesday after pleading guilty to fraud charges, four days before he died of an apparent overdose, police said Tuesday.
Christopher Kelly, 51, died Saturday morning, hours after his girlfriend found him slumped over the steering wheel of his Cadillac Escalade in a lumberyard parking lot in Country Club Hills, a city just south of Chicago.
Country Club Hills Police Chief Regina Evans said Kelly had set up a sleeping bag inside a rented trailer at the lumberyard and set out photos of his children before taking a suspected overdose. She said an unopened box of rat poison was found in the trailer, and someone later turned in empty containers of Tylenol and aspirin that had been removed from the scene.
She would not comment on what Kelly ingested until toxicology reports are returned. The Cook County medical examiner's office has said it could take three to six weeks to get the results of those tests to determine an exact cause of death.
Evans said Kelly first tried to hurt himself last Tuesday evening, and left a note, but called friends and asked for help. She said he was taken to the hospital that night but did not go in after promising that he would get help for depression.
He contacted girlfriend Clarissa Flores-Buhelos late Friday night to say he needed help.
Kelly had raised millions for Blagojevich's campaigns and had emerged as a trusted adviser. But he became part of a federal investigation of corruption in the ousted governor's administration. He was to begin serving eight years in prison on Friday, Sept. 18 for two separate fraud cases.
Kelly had been due to go on trial on corruption charges with Blagojevich, the impeached governor's brother and three other men on June 3. Kelly, a roofing contractor from Chicago's southern suburbs, had already pleaded guilty to $1.3 million in tax fraud and swindling two airlines in connection with $8.5 million in contracts for work on their hangars at O'Hare International Airport.
A funeral Mass for Kelly was scheduled for Wednesday morning. Blagojevich and his wife, Patti, will attend, according to the former governor's publicist, Glenn Selig.