November 24, 2006
The holiday season got off to a tragic start after a man was found dead in Charlottesville.
Those at the scene say it was pretty odd because it happened just a few feet from the doors leading inside the Salvation Army. Some residents said they saw the man get into a van on Thanksgiving, but but thought he was sleeping until they saw him lying in the same spot in the same position the day after.
"I called 911, and came out to look at the man. I said something is definitely wrong with him," said Charlottesville Gibson-Jones.
Charlottesville Police quickly put up crime scene tape to start an investigation.
"We have the death of a gentleman that was on the property of the Salvation Army that we are investigating," said Sergeant Tito Durrette of the Charlottesville Police Department.
While Sgt. Durrette tries to find out how the man died others in the shelter wonder, too. One person from shelter said he saw the man do what plenty of others did for Thanksgiving.
"I saw him go in to eat. He came out, got in the van. He then got in the seat, so we figured he was taking a nap. We looked today at lunch after joking around, and then the man was dead," said Leonard Taylor who lives at the Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army said the man was not a resident of the shelter. Some of its residents said the man was around the shelter along with his van a few times before.
As police work a crime scene to find a cause of death, the manager for the shelter said it is a cause for concern.
"It bothers me a little being right here in the holidays, and I guess with us being homeless shelter," added Gibson-Jones.
Now as a tragedy strikes one day after Thanksgiving those at the shelter are waiting for answers.
"We treat all suspicious deaths as a homicide until we rule that factor out, and then it is notifying the next of kin," added Sgt. Durrette.
Police did find prescription medication in the van with patient information, but the label was marked with a post office box address. Police say not having a physical address could make it difficult to find a next of kin.
Charlottesville Police say they're now waiting for the results of an autopsy.