Aide to D.C. Council Member Evans Is Found Dead In Baltimore's Inner Harbor

By Tim Craig and Lori Aratani
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Desi Deschaine, communications director for D.C. Council member Jack Evans, died in an apparent drowning in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, authorities said yesterday.

Deschaine's friends reported him missing about 10 a.m. Monday, Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. According to Deschaine's Facebook page, he set off for a boating trip with friends Sunday afternoon.

Authorities pulled Deschaine's body from the harbor yesterday morning after locating it by sonar Monday night, said Lee Brian Reba, a friend of Deschaine's and deputy chief of staff to D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D).

"We were able to find him today two boat slips down from where he was reported missing," Guglielmi said.

Guglielmi said there was no evidence of foul play. A friend of Deschaine's told police that he had "been drinking all [Sunday] since 2 p.m.," but it was not known whether alcohol played a role in the death.

Reba, who went to Baltimore after Deschaine, 30, was reported missing, said nine people were on the boat. His friends were concerned and looked for him in the immediate area but "thought he had walked off and would return," Reba said.

Guglielmi said it was unclear whether Deschaine fell off the boat or the dock.

In a statement, Evans (D-Ward 2) called Deschaine "a bright, bubbly, enthusiastic, and wonderful person who you just could not help but love."

Deschaine, who graduated from Catholic University in 2001, began working as Evans's communications director in November. He previously worked as head of external relations for the Washington National Opera, according to his Facebook profile. He also was a gay rights advocate and was active in local Democratic circles.

"There is not a single campaign he didn't work on," Reba said. "There wasn't a person in this city whose life wasn't touched by Desi."

Council members paused for a moment of silence in Deschaine's honor during their morning meeting yesterday. A memorial service in the District is being planned, Reba said.

Staff writer Nikita Stewart contributed to this report.

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