A Towaoc man was found dead by city recycling crews Monday morning north of Wal-Mart.
Brainard Cuthair, 49, was found lying in the grass about 75 feet off of S. Sligo Street just after 8 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 7. Medics were unable to find a pulse, police said.
According to police, Cuthair’s cellphone revealed that his last call was made at 9:59 p.m. the previous night. The local temperature dipped to 11 degrees overnight on Sunday.
“It’s an extremely sad situation whenever someone dies outside,” said Laurie Knutson, director of the Bridge Emergency Shelter in Cortez.
According to Knutson, the shelter had 29 overnight guests on Sunday. The shelter’s capacity is 45.
Cuthair’s death is believed to be the first from apparent exposure that has occurred within the city since October 2013. Knutson praised the police department that more deaths hadn’t been reported.
“The police officers look every night, and they sweep the areas that our homeless population tends to congregate,” said Knutson, who added that officers drop people off at the shelter on multiple nights every week.
According to police, an autopsy on Cuthair’s body was conducted on Tuesday, but attempts to reach Montezuma County Coroner George Deavers on the exact cause of death were unsuccessful as of press deadlines.
A police report reveals that several items were collected at the scene, including a half-empty bottle of mouthwash and a jacket, which was some 100 feet away from where Cuthair’s body was discovered. Police said no suspicious items were located at the scene.