Michael Poe traveled into D.C. on Tuesday to ring in the New Year with his friends. But the night of revelry ended in tragedy after D.C. police pulled his body out of a 50-foot ventilation shaft in the 1800 block of Biltmore Street NW late Wednesday evening.
D.C. Police Spokesman Officer Araz Alali said the body of Michael Poe, 23, was found at 10:47 p.m. Wednesday.
“It appeared that he fell,” D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier told reporters at a news conference to discuss a drop in homicides. Earlier, police said in a statement there appeared to be no sign of foul play.
Poe had been celebrating with his friends at Shenanigan’s Irish Pub in Adams Morgan, said Leslie Poe, his mother. His friends last heard from him when they called him on his cellphone about 2:30 a.m., she said, and by Wednesday, he hadn’t returned home.
His family and friends were handing out fliers in different parts of D.C. and in Montgomery County trying to locate him, his mother said.
Poe’s family filed a missing person’s report with Montgomery police Tuesday. Police from Montgomery County and the District had been searching for him.
After receiving the news about their son, the Poe family declined to speak to The Gazette, asking for time to mourn.
Poe, who lived in Clarksburg, graduated from Poolesville High School in 2007, and graduated from Virginia Tech in May, according to his Facebook page. At Virginia Tech, he studied management, according to a university official.
He played golf and basketball while attending Poolesville High, and worked as a caddy at a golf course earlier this year, his mother said.
“The reason they found Michael was because of everyone’s efforts — and because everyone loves the Poe family,” said Daniel Camillo, a close friend and former teammate.
“He just really cared about what I was doing,” Camillo said. “He was like that ... making sure I was doing OK at school, asking what was going on.”
The two played basketball together, he said.
The news of Poe’s death stunned Poolesville and Clarksburg residents.
“In terms of the community he was one of the absolute best,” Jim Brown said. “He was always loving and taking care of his brother, Matt,” he said, referring to Poe’s younger brother, who has Down syndrome.
Poe’s golf coach, Jon Rogers, called him “that very bright, positive light.”
“He was just one of those kids you always remember him smiling in class and having fun with his friends,” he said.
Poolesville’s basketball teams would be having a moment of silence at the teams’ games Thursday to remember Poe, Poolesville High School Assistant Principal Christopher Rattay said.
Washington Post Staff Writer Peter Hermann contributed to this report.