WASHINGTON — On a rainy Thursday afternoon, in a back alley behind a popular D.C. night club, crime scene tape was up as detectives investigated the discovery of a body.
Officially, the police department has only said it is conducting a death investigation and has yet to identify the body. The family of a Reston, Virginia teenager says the body is that of Paul McGuinness Jr., who went missing early Wednesday morning.
“We’re not thinking foul play, we’re thinking it was literally just a tragic, tragic accident,” said Oray Nicolai, McGuinness’ uncle.
It was Tuesday night that McGuinness went to Adams Morgan for his cousin’s birthday.
Back for Christmas vacation from his freshman year at Virginia Commonwealth University, McGuinness celebrated until the early morning hours at Madam’s Organ on 18th Street Northwest.
Around 1 a.m. Wednesday, McGuinness disappeared. Nicolai says his son believed his cousin had gone to the restroom, but he never returned. The last communication with McGuinness was when the college student acknowledged a text message from his cousin, urging him to take an Uber home.
Friends and family quickly began searching for McGuinness the next day. A missing person’s report was also filed with the Metropolitan Police Department.
On Thursday afternoon, Nicolai said he and several others were searching the alley behind Madam’s Organ when McGuinness’ longtime baseball coach decided to get on top of on a dumpster to get a better view behind the establishment. It was then, Nicolai said, that the coach found McGuinness’ body.
“He immediately climbed down and squeezed him, and put his hands on him to see if he was alive,” Nicolai said. He wasn’t.
His family believes McGuinness fell while using stairs in the back of the popular night spot. Nicolai said McGuiness may have been trying to get to the Uber car he intended to take home.
“It’s just such a tragedy for something so stupid, just to lose your balance and have an accident that ends your life,” Nicolai said.
His uncle said McGuinness recently finished up his first semester at VCU and was home in Reston for the holiday break.
Nicolai said McGuinness was a happy kid, who always had a smile on his face. He was good student, had good grades and many friends.
His uncle said his heart breaks for McGuinness’ parents, who have lost their only child.
“They loved that kid; they treated him so good,” Nicolai said of McGuinness’ parents.
Thursday afternoon, police spoke with employees of Madam’s Organ, as the investigation continues. The establishment did not open Thursday night.