Family of Indiana University student found dead at Griffy Lake filed petition for answers

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MONROE COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — Indiana University student Joseph Smedley was found dead at Griffy Lake in October of 2015 and now his family has filed a petition in court looking to get information about his disappearance and death.

Vivianne Smedley told 24-Hour News 8 she is hopeful this could lead her family one step closer to finding out what happened to her brother.

The Monroe County Coroner’s Office ruled his death a suicide, but Smedley believes someone killed her brother. She said it was difficult spending Thanksgiving without him.

“He’s the one that used to make the macaroni and cheese all the time so it was like it’s just a little tough to get through this season without him,” she said.

20-year-old Joseph Smedley was found dead at Griffy Lake last October just days after family reported him missing.

The coroner’s office ruled his death a suicide by drowning. Smedley said a second autopsy was performed on her brother.

“The forensic pathologist that performed the autopsy pretty much said that he could not complete the report without any of the circumstantial evidence,” she said. “He did find other things that the first coroner missed so I’ve just been waiting this whole time to get those documents so he could finish the report.”

So now she’s taking the matter to court by filing a petition in Monroe County. Court documents show Smedley is requesting to get all photos and paper work related to her brother’s disappearance and death investigation from different departments, including the Bloomington Police Department.

“We’ve asked the Bloomington Police Department a lot of questions that they haven’t really answered,” she said. “It’s going to be nice to have evidence and look over ourselves to answer our own questions instead.”

Smedley knows the road will be a long one, but she’s not giving up hope.

“Hopefully a little bit of relief,” she said. “We might finally get some answers that we’ve been looking for.”

Despite the coroner’s ruling, Smedley said she is confident her brother did not take his own life.

“Hopefully the more evidence we can build that showed something happened to him that foul play was involved,” she said. “The more they be willing to put their resources towards finding out what really happened.”

24 Hour News 8 reached out to the City of Bloomington for a comment. An attorney sent us a statement in an email saying:

“The City of Bloomington has reviewed the petition filed by Ms. Brown regarding her brother, Mr. Smedley. The City is considering its legal options. We do not comment on pending legal matters over which we are actively deliberating.”