Family still hoping for answers three years after body found floating in Canyon Lake

Jason Eilola-Coye was last seen on February 28. His body was found floating in Canyon Lake on March 14, 2021. Photo provided by Diana Hart.

This month marks the third anniversary of the tragic death of Jason Eilola-Coye, a 19-year-old whose body was found floating in Canyon Lake.

A fisherman in a floatation device discovered Eilola-Coye in the water about 100 yards from the north ski area dock around 5 p.m. on March 14, 2021. According to the family, Eilola-Coye’s body had been submerged in the lake for approximately four to five days.

Despite the passage of time, Eilola-Coye’s family is still grappling with unanswered questions and yearning for closure.

Official investigations concluded that Eilola-Coye’s death was attributed to drowning, with no evidence of foul play; however, this ruling fails to ease the suspicions harbored by his grieving family. They remain steadfast in their belief that Eilola-Coye’s death warrants further scrutiny, citing peculiar circumstances surrounding his death.

Two weeks after Eilola-Coye’s body was found in the lake, his family gathered at the dock to release a wreath in his honor. Photo by Canyon Lake Insider.

Eilola-Coye’s lifeless body was found unclothed when it was retrieved from the lake. His grandmother, Diana Hart, said her grandson, who suffered from mental health issues, did not like to be cold or in the water. While it’s possible, Hart believes it’s unlikely that her modest grandson took off all his clothes and entered the lake.

“My thought with this is that it wouldn’t be like him, no matter where he was, to just take off his clothes,” Hart said. “He was modest and he hated water. He was not the kind of kid who always wanted to swim and be in the water. He was the kid out of the water with a sweatshirt and blanket.”

Hart said no drugs were found in her grandson’s system and no defensive wounds were found on his body.

Three years after the death of her grandson, Diana Hart visits the cross placed at the north ski area in honor of her grandson. Photos provided by Diana Hart.

Eilola-Coye’s clothing and cell phone were never recovered. He was last seen wearing a white tank top, gray sweatpants, and tennis shoes, but he had been missing for days so he could have changed his clothing. He left his belongings at a friend’s house, including his ID and bank card.

According to Hart, her grandson was last heard from on February 26, 2021, and last seen on February 28, 2021. 

“He was last seen when the Menifee Police Department took him to a mental health urgent care in Perris on the afternoon of February 28,” Hart said. “He suffers from bipolar and wanted the police to assist him with checking himself into the facility. We later found out that he never checked in. That was the last known sighting of him.”

Prior to his death, Eilola-Coye was residing in Lake Elsinore but had been in the cities of Menifee and Perris. He also resided with his grandmother in Murietta for five years.

Eilola-Coye’s family continues to seek answers. In their hearts, the quest for the truth is far from over as they strive to ensure that his story receives the closure it deserves.

Anyone with information related to the death of Jason Eilola-Coye is asked to contact Investigator Poznanski at the Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s Station at 951-245-3300.

Photo provided by Diana Hart.

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