Student death mystery

Joey Bock of Oak Park found inside his college apartment


INVESTIGATION—Police arrive at Joey Bock’s apartment near the campus of Northern Arizona University where his body was found March 21. He was underneath a bed, reportedly stabbed. Courtesy of Adrian Skabelund

INVESTIGATION—Police arrive at Joey Bock’s apartment near the campus of Northern Arizona University where his body was found March 21. He was underneath a bed, reportedly stabbed. Courtesy of Adrian Skabelund

Two weeks after the body of Joseph Bock was discovered in his Northern Arizona University apartment, police have still not released an official cause of death.

The 21-year-old student who grew up in Oak Park was found at 2 p.m. March 21 under a bed inside his home at the Hilltop Townhomes, a residential complex near the NAU campus that is not affiliated with the university.

TEAMMATE—Bock takes a team photo in 2012 with the Oak Park High School junior varsity baseball team. He was popular with fellow athletes. “Everyone was drawn to him,” one player said. Acornfile photo

TEAMMATE—Bock takes a team photo in 2012 with the Oak Park High School junior varsity baseball team. He was popular with fellow athletes. “Everyone was drawn to him,” one player said. Acornfile photo

Bock, known as “Joey,” went to St. Jude the Apostle School in Westlake Village and Oak Park High School, where he played football and baseball.

According to reports in the NAU student newspaper, The Lumberjack, Bock was found with stab wounds to his abdomen. There was also blood in the apartment’s bathroom and bedroom.

Northern Arizona University Police Department said investigators would not speculate on the cause of death. They are calling it an “unattended death.”

“The Coconino County Medical Examiner’s report and toxicology screen can take significant time (often as much as 60 days),” NAUPD said in a statement. “All evidence collected during the investigation must be scientifically analyzed and processed before conclusions can be reached.”

NAUPD chief Kelli Smith issued a statement to students confirming that Bock’s body was discovered less than 12 hours after his death.

Campus police initially reported that Bock had been presumed dead for nearly a week before his body was discovered.

Police said there was no ongoing threat to the safety of students, faculty and staff at the Flagstaff, Ariz.campus.

Bock’s death is being investigated by the Coconino County Medical Examiner’s office along with the Flagstaff Police Department and the NAU police.

Bock was studying business administration at the university.

‘The kid was magnetic’

Oak Park football teammates and coaches fondly remembered Bock, who suited up at linebacker and fullback for the varsity team during the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

“Joey was a free spirit,” said Terry Shorten, the former football head coach at Oak Park. “He was a great teammate. He definitely had all his teammates’ backs. He played as hard as he could for everybody on his team.

“Joey gave us everything he had. That’s something I want him to be remembered for.”

Shorten, who is currently leading the football team at Malibu High, guided the Eagles to an 11-2 record during Bock’s senior season in 2013. Bock had 23 carries for 117 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and he added 17 tackles on defense that fall.

Casey Webb, Oak Park’s current head coach, was an assistant on Eagle squads which featured Bock. Webb said Bock was always cracking jokes and making teammates smile and laugh.

“He was just one of those guys who fired everybody up,” Webb said. “He was genuinely excited every time he was out on the football field. . . . It’s just really sad. He’s such a great kid who had kind of an older soul. A couple kids from that team and I were talking about him, sharing stories about him. He was just a great kid. It’s really sad to see what happened.”

Brandon Schmidt also attended St. Jude, and on his first day of third grade at the Westlake Village school he met Bock, who gave the new kid a campus tour. The two quickly became friends, and their friendship strengthened as they became classmates and football teammates at Oak Park High.

Schmidt, a finance major who will graduate from Chico State in May, spoke about Bock while sitting on the porch of his Northern California home.

“The kid was magnetic. Everyone was drawn to him,” Schmidt said of Bock. “He was probably one of the most loyal friends you could ever have. Even if you were wrong, he’d have your back. That’s a really hard quality to come by these days. . . . He was just a good kid overall.”

Schmidt and Bock shared many memorable moments together on the gridiron. In 2013, they helped Oak Park win a school record 11 straight games, capture a Tri-Valley League title and reach the CIF-Southern Section Northwest Division semifinals.

“He was totally dedicated,” Schmidt said. “He always put in the work. He always persevered no matter what he went through.”

A funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Sat., April 14 at St. Jude. A reception inside the church hall will follow.