Remains of missing former East Naples resident found near Atlanta on-ramp

Ethan Condon

Ethan Condon

Last Sunday, Pamela Papapostolou logged into Facebook and wrote on a page called "Find Ethan Condon."

It had been 687 days since she last spoke with her son, who was at a Greyhound Bus Station in Atlanta when he disappeared in 2010.

"Today is the second Mother's Day without you," she wrote. "You are always the first one to call me. I miss you and love you so much. Please come home."

She learned of her son's death two days later, when an officer met her in Sycamore, Ill., where she now lives. Condon, who attended East Naples Middle School and Lely High School in the 1990s, had been found near an interstate on-ramp in Atlanta.

Although the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office was able to identify Condon, it cannot say for sure how he died — there was no sign of trauma to his bones that indicated foul play and not enough evidence for toxicology tests to determine a possible drug overdose.

On June 26, 2010, Condon had been living in West Palm Beach but took a bus to Atlanta, where he planned to catch a ride to Chicago to visit his mom. He missed his connection, though, and called her to say he'd be late, Papapostolou said.

He sounded anxious, she said, but said he was going to go for a walk before he caught the next bus, which was scheduled to come in three hours. He told his mom he loved her and hung up.

When Papapostolou went to the Greyhound station to pick him up, though, he wasn't there.

"I called him on his cellphone, and I don't recall quite how many times I called, and nobody picked up, and nobody picked up, and nobody picked up," she said.

For almost two years, no one could tell her where her son was. Then, on April 19, a highway maintenance worker was clearing grass along Interstate 20, about a half-mile from the Greyhound station, when he saw a man's skull and called police.

With the body, authorities found a wallet, Condon's Florida ID, a phone charger and $1.56 in coins.

"It was heavily overgrown," said Tami Sedivy-Schroder, an investigator with the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office. "In fact, even once the debris was cut back to the fence, unless you were right next to him you would not have seen him."

Sedivy-Schroder identified the bones as Condon's through a metal plate in his wrist. She received confirmation Tuesday when Naples medical records were sent to her office.

Condon was 9 when the family moved to East Naples in the early 90s.

"He had many friends in Naples," Papapostolou said. "He was very popular. People loved to be around him."

At 13, though, he started smoking pot and became addicted to drugs, she said, eventually leaving high school to go into treatment and sober up in West Palm Beach. A bright kid, he received his GED without even studying and later graduated from Palm Beach Community College, Papapostolou said.

Condon was sober for eight or nine years and had made it part way through Florida Atlantic University, hoping to become a history teacher, when he became addicted to drugs again. This time, it was the painkillers doctors had prescribed for his wrist after the metal plate was put in.

Things got worse when at 29, his dog got out of a gate and was hit by a car.

"Ethan was not the same after that," Papapostolou said. "He really started using drugs more heavily."

At the time of Condon's bus trip to Illinois, the family planned to readmit the 30-year-old into treatment.

"He was terrible almost every time I talked to him," his mother said.

Papapostolou believes her son, who had a heart defect, might have fallen down a steep slope near where his body was found, either from a heart attack or from drugs.

Instead of a formal funeral ceremony, the family will have a "celebration of life," the way Condon would have wanted. Instead of flowers, they're asking for donations to the Freedom House in Lake Park, Fla., a halfway house for chemically dependent individuals, so others like Condon can receive the help they need.

On Tuesday, Papapostolou logged back into Facebook and posted another message: "Our long journey is over ... We are overwhelmed with grief and so sad for such a troubled life. He was a wonderful son."

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features