The man found dead in a drainage ditch on Monday night has been identified as Hector Diaz Dominguez, 39, of Fort Collins. There was no sign of trauma or foul play, coroner’s investigator Maury Miller, said in a statement.
The body was found east of College Avenue in the Poudre River, near East Vine Drive and Jerome Street, according to police spokeswoman Rita Davis.
The cause of death was hypothermia, according to the statement. Temperatures were below freezing Monday night.
Clara Smith, a nurse practitioner at Hartshorn Health Service, said that hypothermia can creep up on people, especially if they’re under the influence of a drug or alcohol. People with hypothermia often become hot, and take off their warm clothes in response. “You fall asleep and then you can be overcome by the cold weather,” she said.
And it’s not just a problem for the homeless. She recalled a case in which a high school student used over-the-counter medication to get high.
“It made him extremely sleepy, he just laid down and went to sleep there and died of exposure from the cold,” Smith said. “If you don’t have any friends with you, it’s a problem.”
An elderly Denver woman with Alzheimer’s disease was found dead in the snow on Monday after leaving her home undetected the night before, the Denver Post reported on Tuesday. Three weeks ago, the body of a 43-year-old man was found in the Poudre River in northeast Greeley, and police in that case said they didn’t suspect foul play, the Greeley Tribune reported.
It’s unclear how long Dominguez was dead before being spotted by a man walking home on Monday night. Toxicology tests, which will show whether Dominguez was under the influence of alcohol or a drug, are pending, according to the statement.