A homeless man found dead in a field on the east side of C Hill Monday died from heart failure, an autopsy revealed.
The body of the 52-year-old man was discovered at about 7:30 a.m. behind the Shell Gas Station on Curry Street, authorities said.
"His friend came up this morning to wake him so they could get their day started, and he found him," said sheriff's Detective Sgt. Steve Schuette.
Police are withholding the man's name, pending notification of next of kin. However, an unidentified man who came upon the site as the body was being loaded into the mortuary van said the dead man's name was "Glen."
"Is my friend dead?" he asked.
Schuette said the area is a common site for homeless to set up tents or sleep in the brush. The homeless man was known to sleep there.
Detectives initially were suspicious because the dead man was found face down with a bloody nose.
An autopsy conducted Monday afternoon revealed he died from heart failure. He had a history of heart problems and had been fitted with a pacemaker. It was unclear how long the man had been dead, however friends said they last saw him Sunday night. No signs of hypothermia were found.
"We think he fell from the effects of the heart failure, and that's when his nose was injured, which caused the bleeding," Schuette said.
The man had been released from Carson-Tahoe Hospital Thursday for facial injuries that he told hospital staff were caused by a fall, Schuette said.
When the body was found, the man still wore the hospital-admitting bracelet with his name on it, Schuette said.
A gray sleeping bag was near the body in the field littered with empty quart beer bottles and Basic cigarette packs.
Monte Fast, director of Friends In Service Helping, an organization that offers food, clothing and shelter to the homeless, said he was saddened to learn of the death.
"There were empty beds last night in both of our shelters," Fast said of his group's Focus and Wylie houses. "He could have taken shelter there if we'd known about him."