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Danelo's Brother Questions Cause of Death

A couple days after the L.A. County Coroner released toxicology reports showing the USC kicker had an exhorbitant blood-alcohol level when he was found dead at the bottom of a cliff last month, Mario Danelo's brother told the Associated Press Tuesday he doesn't buy that his brother fell from the cliff. Not that Joey Danelo appears too certain of anything:

"Nobody knows what happened to him that night," Joey Danelo told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Tuesday. "I don't believe that he fell from the top of that cliff - no way. That's just my personal opinion. I don't believe that's what happened.

"There are countless scenarios that could have taken place to get him where he got. There was a cliff, there were internal injuries. The path of least resistance is he could have fallen. There are other possibilities that could have put him at the bottom of that cliff."

Such as...? Joey doesn't offer in other scenarios here, which we outsiders maybe shouldn't take as an automatic presumption that he doesn't actually harbor some thoughts based on information we don't have, but does make it a point to say

"We don't know that he fell. We know there wasn't an argument between my dad and him," Danelo said, referring to a published report that his brother had a disagreement with their father, Joe, a former NFL kicker. "I'm not saying there was foul play, but I believe that's a possibility."
[Emphasis SMQ's]

The official cause of death remains undetermined, but police immediately ruled out foul play. Joey Danelo told the AP that decision was made "too early," but offers no evidence here, circumstantial or otherwise, or any sort of theory suggesting foul play. It doesn't appear that suggestion is anything more than a grieving brother groping for some sort of definite answer where there is none.

He does say the family grew up near the cliffs, and though he obviously was drinking and had apparently been out with friends and/or teammates earlier in the evening, Mario Danelo wasn't driving. The story reports from the autopsy that he left his house without car keys, cell phone or wallet around 2 a.m. on Jan. 6 before his body was discovered shortly thereafter. Nobody saw or heard from him in the interim.

From the report, Joey Danelo's sole explanatory effort: "The only thing we can think of is he just wanted to get some air."