Temperatures in Utah have dipped well below freezing this weekend, and now the cold weather may have led to the tragic death of a potentially homeless man. The body of a man was found on a Salt Lake City park bench early Saturday morning, and Utah police believe it was likely the sub-freezing temperatures that took his life.
Furthermore, according to Salt Lake Police, the most likely scenario is that Utah cold weather death involved a homeless man. As Deseret News reports, the death took place near 500 West in downtown Salt Lace City. Reportedly, officers saw a man sitting on bench in the early Saturday morning hours and approached him.
When they got close, they realized that the man sitting in the cold Utah weather was deceased. While law enforcement is releasing few details at this point (they haven’t even released the victim’s name), they are publicly speculating on the nature of the man’s tragic death and circumstances.
“The cause of death is unknown, though there’s speculation that it was due to weather.”
Lt. Justin Hudson of the Salt Lake Police Department added that there’s a good chance that the man who appeared to have succumbed to the Utah cold winter weather was also a member of the state’s growing homeless population.
“Not many people sit on benches that early in the morning in that area unless they’re homeless.”
On Saturday morning, temperatures in the area of Utah where the deceased man was found dipped down to a mere 21 degrees and have now fallen even lower. Overnight Saturday and Sunday, some Utah temperatures are expected to hover near the single digits. While the cold is expected to stick around for quite some time in Utah and other areas across the nation, the coldest of the cold weather is forecast to pass by Monday.
Police officers who found the body of the presumably homeless Utah man on the cold park bench on Saturday claim that he appeared to be dressed warmly. However, it’s likely that the temperature just got too cold.
The death of the unidentified Utah, who was likely homeless and who likely succumbed to the cold, comes amid a growing homeless problem in Utah in general and the Salt Lake City area specifically. As Fox 13 Now reports, four new homeless shelter sites have just been announced in and around Salt Lake City; the announcement came just days before the cold weather likely killed a Utah man.
The four new homeless shelter sites were announced after Salt Lake Police began “cracking down” on crime and drug use in the Rio Grande District of Salt Lake City, Utah, where the majority of the city’s homeless previously lived. Even before the cold weather hit, the area had been plagued by drug use and other crime.
Despite the fact that a likely homeless Utah man is believed to have succumbed to the cold over the weekend, it is predicted that Utah residents will have some resistance to the new homeless shelter sites. Sites designed to prevent cold weather deaths and other such tragedies in Utah year-round.
According to Mayor Jackie Biskupski, she and her city counsel are expecting cries of “not in my backyard” from Utah citizens. This despite the fact that the new Salt Lake City, Utah shelters will be “broken up” in an attempt to circumvent the drug problems and other crime that have plagued the current shelter.
“When we get to the service what we have inside these buildings it will be so different than what we have today that people will just not be experiencing what they see.”
The new shelter model was designed to move Utah homeless into mixed-use areas that are close to transportation, away from known “drug trade hubs” and provide easy access to other social services.
Unfortunately, the new Salt Lake City, Utah homeless strategy won’t be completed in time to help with this year’s cold weather. Nor did it come in time to save the life of one presumably homeless man who was found dead Saturday morning.
Utah police are expected to release the name of the man found dead on a Salt Lake park bench in the sub-freezing cold after his next of kin are notified of the death.
[Featured Image by Cylonphoto/Shutterstock]