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Update: Sisters man died of hypothermia, not CO poisoning


A Sisters man died of hypothermia in his car parked on a snowy Sisters street, not of carbon monoxide poisoning as authorities first believed, officials said Monday night.

The Deschutes County Medical Examiner’s Office contacted the sheriff’s office to provide an updated determination on the cause of death for Edward Fones, 39, whose body was found in his Taurus station wagon Saturday afternoon.

“After a detailed medical exam that was not able to be performed at the scene, the cause of death for Edward Fones was determined to be hypothermia and manner was accidental,” the medical examiner’s office said in a statement.

“Other medical conditions also contributed to his death, but carbon monoxide was not able to be ruled out until the detailed exam was completed. Carbon monoxide, drugs, and alcohol were not believed to be associated with this accidental death, caused by exposure to temperatures that were reported to be below zero degrees,” the statement concluded.

Employees at the Sisters shopping center where Fones worked at the Sisters McDonald’s said Monday he had been living in his car there for about a year.

“He was a very dependable worker. He was very hard working. He was quiet,” said his boss, Nanette Bittler. “He’s quiet, because he was very kind and very gentle, and got along with everyone on the team. he always brought a smile to everyone’s face,” she said.

“He kept to himself,” said Ryan Seeley, a man who had befriended Fones when both were homeless. “Unless you started a conversation with him, he really wouldn’t be the conversation-starter.”

Seeley said he had tried to help Fones, but he always refused it.

“I’ve offered him equipment in the past. I’ve offered him a heater, and he just — he didn’t want it. I don’t know if he was just ashamed or if he was content with how he was living, but he was struggling.”

For the month of January, Westside Church in Sisters will open a cold-weather shelter.

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