07 December 2005

I Read The News Today. Oh Boy!

As I left the office late last night in the bitter cold, I expected this. This morning, in a caption under the big front page picture of the Denver Post, it was there. "One homeless man was found frozen to death Tuesday."

The details of the story that I knew was coming:

Perhaps suffering a form of dementia caused by hypothermia, a homeless man shed his blue winter coat early Tuesday morning, huddled next to a chain-link fence in tall frozen weeds near a small creek and died.

The unidentified man, whose body was discovered on the 4800 block of West Virginia Avenue early Tuesday morning, may have been the first casualty of a cold spell that has Denver police and shelter workers scrambling to get people off the streets. . . .

Valerio said he's seen it before: homeless people inexplicably undressing in bitter-cold weather.

"They just lose all sense of reality," [Denver police officer Ed] Valerio said.

The phenomenon is called "paradoxical undressing," said Amy Martin, deputy coroner of the Denver Medical Examiner's Office. People become disoriented and can hallucinate, she said.

Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson said authorities are trying to determine whether the homeless man froze to death. He said it does not appear that the man was the victim of foul play.

Bill Baca, 59, of 4845 W. Virginia Ave., said he saw a blue coat in bushes near the creek Tuesday morning, and then he saw the body.

"Gee, it was cold last night," Baca said. "I don't know what on earth possessed him to take his jacket off."

We don't have a name, and there will probably not be a story updating this one that provides it. We don't know how this man made his way to the side of a frigid creek and took off his coat. It was -6 degree Farenheit yesterday, without windchill. It was something I knew would happen to someone, without being a psychic. It was just a matter of who and where. No we know. Sort of.

(If the title jogged memories, the rest is here.)

No comments: