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Archive for Friday, July 12, 2002

Homeless death alcohol-related

July 12, 2002

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Alcohol poisoning caused the death of a homeless man whose body was found in early May at Burcham Park, the Douglas County coroner said in an autopsy report.

Aaron Etsitty's blood-alcohol content was .47, toxicology tests revealed.

Medical experts say any blood-alcohol content higher than .35 is potentially fatal; the threshold to determine a drunken driver in Kansas is .08.

The autopsy, performed by Dr. Donald Pojman, Frontier Forensics, Topeka, was filed in Douglas County District Court.

According to the report, Etsitty, 31, had numerous problems with alcohol, including seizures.

The report said that Etsitty had been in a vehicle with someone else when he passed out. He was then pulled out of the vehicle and dragged to the side of the road. The report doesn't give a specific location.

Early May 2, Lawrence Police were notified about a body in Burcham Park, in the 200 block of Indiana Street, northwest of downtown. About 1 a.m., officers found Etsitty's body in the far northern section of the park.

Sharilyn Wells, director of Acceptance House, 407 Maine, a homeless shelter, said homeless people who came by the house still talked about Etsitty as well as five other poor and homeless people who have been found dead in recent years.

"People remember all of them," Wells said. "These were people who had been around town for a long time."

Those who are intoxicated are not allowed to stay at Acceptance House or the Salvation Army shelter. They can sleep at the Lawrence Open Shelter, which operates during summer months at St. John's School, 1208 Ky.

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