Sheriff’s Department probes transient’s mysterious death

Sheriff’s investigators are still investigating the mysterious death of a transient man in Chapmantown.

The man, described as a 43-year-old white male, was found dead by his friend along side a parked car on California Street in the middle of the night on Nov. 13. His cause of death was later determined to be trauma to the head, said Deputy Coroner Jerry Smith, although that injury wasn’t apparent when he was found.

Smith acknowledged that, while investigators believe they know the man’s name, they’re unable to release it until they contact his next of kin. Smith said that the department believes he has extended family somewhere on the East Coast, but investigators haven’t yet found them.

“That’s been a major problem,” Smith said.

The man’s humble estate—the things he carried with him—have been turned over to the Public Administrator’s Office, Smith said.

While Smith would not say outright if the man’s head trauma was caused by a fall or intentionally, he acknowledged that investigators are treating his death as “at the very least suspicious.”

"All I can really say is that we have some positive leads … and maybe a suspect," he said.