Coroner cites accidental strangulation in man’s death
June 28, 2002
An Aspen man found dead in his residence on Smuggler Mountain Wednesday died due to accidental strangulation, according to a coroner’s report.
John Lawrence McNeil, 39, was found in the bus where he lived on Smuggler Mountain Road by a friend. According to the coroner’s report, McNeil’s death may have occurred early Monday morning, since he was last seen at 2 a.m. on Monday.
According to Pitkin County Investigator Ron Ryan, McNeil was living in the same bus as an Aspen local who died in February 2001. Pat Paris was residing in the bus last winter when he was found dead in the bus’ bedroom.
Ryan said the coroner’s report for Paris listed the cause of death as “accidental carbon monoxide poisoning” from the propane gas heater in the bus.
“The two deaths are completely unrelated other than the common thread that they occurred in the same bus,” Ryan said. “And the heating system that was responsible for Pat Paris’ death is no longer in the bus.”
Ryan said foul play is not suspected in McNeil’s death. It is not known if drugs or alcohol were involved in the accident.
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“The toxicology report won’t be completed for several weeks,” he said. “But it will not change the determination that this was an accident.”
[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.]