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Durango man found dead in shed along north Main Avenue

50-year-old had been living in structure for several weeks

A Durango man living in a shed behind a motel on north Main Avenue was found dead Wednesday afternoon, according to police.

The man was identified as Albert Naljahih, 50. Naljahih had been living in the shed for several weeks, said Durango police Cmdr. Jacob Dunlop.

The death was reported at 1:18 p.m. by a 911 caller who sounded frantic, saying his uncle had died and requested police come quickly, Dunlop said.

Police and medics arrived in the 2900 block of Main Avenue to find Naljahih deceased.

Dunlop said one or two people had been staying with Naljahih in the shed for the past couple of nights. The people staying with him woke up about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday and went to the grocery store. They left Naljahih behind, believing he was still sleeping. But when they returned about 1:15 p.m., they realized he was dead.

Dunlop was not immediately sure if the shed belonged to the nearby motel or to a private property owner. Based on a police report, whoever oversaw the shed was unaware people had been living there.

No foul play is suspected, Dunlop said.

La Plata County Coroner Jann Smith said alcohol may have played a role in Naljahih’s death, but it does not appear as though exposure to the cold elements played a role. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.


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