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Homeless man found last week died of hypothermia, coroner says

Memorial will be held this week for Dean Allen Littrell

A homeless man who was found dead last week at a campsite behind Walmart along the Animas River died from hypothermia.

La Plata County Coroner Jann Smith said last week she did not suspect hypothermia as the cause of death. But an autopsy Thursday concluded Dean Allen Littrell, 57, died of hypothermia.

Littrell was part of the homeless community and had been living at a makeshift campsite behind Walmart for at least three months.

Smith said there was a tent and sleeping bag on-site, but at the time when Littrell was found, the tent was not set up and he was not in the sleeping bag. Littrell was found, Smith said, wrapped in a tarp.

Friends say Littrell had been drinking the night before, but Smith said that won’t be confirmed until toxicology results come back, which could take about four weeks.

A memorial will be held for Littrell at the site of his death at 2 p.m. Tuesday, said Richard Dilworth, who works as an advocate for the homeless community in Durango.

Anyone interested in attending is asked to go to the Animas River Trail behind Walmart, where signs will direct people to the space where Littrell was camped near the Animas River.

The memorial will promote social distancing, and masks will be provided to those who don’t have one, he said.

Dilworth said he believes Littrell was from North Carolina.

“He was always looking out for people, making sure everyone was OK,” he said. “He was very much someone you looked forward to seeing.”


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