The initial shock over the sudden death of Sam Stock last week turned to disbelief following the coroner's conclusion that cocaine and alcohol killed the KILO disc jockey.
"Nobody would have suspected this -- not at all," said Lou Mellini, general manager of the station. "It doesn't fit."
The rock DJ's body was discovered in the bathroom of his Colorado Springs home on Monday, March 28. The body might have been there as long as two days, said Dr. Don Ritchey, an investigator for the coroner.
Co-workers at KILO-FM 94.3 worried something had happened to Stock when he failed to turn up for a live, on-air promotion at a Taco Bell that Monday morning. He had never before missed a remote airing.
When co-workers went to his apartment and found no answer, they asked the manager to open the door. She looked inside, and then rushed out.
Stock was dead. He was 35.
The dream job
After working for several years as a DJ and for satellite radio in his native Denver, Stock relocated to the Springs about a year ago, taking a job as DJ at The Eagle-FM 103.9. He joined KILO, a sister station housed in the same building, in January as assistant program director. His show aired from 3 to 7 p.m. on weekdays.
Friends described Stock's move to KILO as a dream career move. An avid fan of thrash metal and first-generation punk bands, Stock loved the station's edgier format, said longtime KILO DJ, Johnny G. He liked to crank up the volume when he was in the booth.
"All the gold records on the wall would shake," he said. "Sam liked it loud, no doubt about it."
Friends at KILO last saw Stock during a promotion on the night of Friday, March 25, at Icon, a bar east of downtown.
He left the bar just after 11 p.m., Mellini said, adding that he didn't know if anyone had been with Stock after that time.
Colorado Springs homicide detectives were quick to rule out foul play after finding drugs and alcohol in the apartment and no evidence of a disturbance, said Sgt. Sal Fiorillo.
To those at KILO, Stock seemed too healthy to die and too health-conscious to abuse drugs.
Between breaks, Stock kept fit practicing for a recreational soccer league by kicking a ball around the parking lot. He didn't smoke. While other DJs downed double cheeseburgers for lunch, Stock ate healthy helpings of steamed vegetables.
And over the last year, the station began administering random drug tests, said Mellini.
"That's another reason why this doesn't fit," he said.
Dozens of listeners have called the station to express sympathy. And, last week more than 30 of his co-workers gathered at the station to recall the good times.
"There wasn't a dry eye," Mellini said.
Last Halloween, Stock dressed as Captain Hook and joined other DJs in delivering donated toys to hospitalized children. There, he spoke to an African boy in his native language, which Stock had learned as a boy living on the continent with his missionary parents, Mellini said.
While some were too sad to speak about Stock, on Monday the DJ remained listed as "in," according to the white magnetic board inside the station's doorway.
"It's surreal," said DJ Zakk. "One day he was here and we were talking, the next day he's gone."
-- Michael de Yoanna