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Prineville PD: No signs of foul play in homeless man’s death

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Was found Friday evening in Ochoco Creek

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Prineville police on Tuesday released the name and details regarding a homeless man whose body was found in Ochoco Creek last Friday evening, saying there were no signs of foul play.

Officers were dispatched shortly before 6 p.m. Friday to the report of a man face-down under a bridge in the creek near St. Charles Way, Sgt. Shane Wilson said in a news release. He noted that the location is "one of the areas visited by the local homeless community."

Officers removed the man, later identified as Brian Lee Colbert, 64, of Prineville, from the creek and determined he was beyond life-saving efforts, Wilson said.

An initial police investigation found no evidence of robbery, as Colbert was in possession of $90, nor evidence of foul play or signs of a struggle, the police sergeant said.

A deputy medical examiner and a representative of the Crook County District Attorney's Office responded to the scene as the death investigation was conducted.

"Brian was part of our homeless community and had a history with mental illness, drugs and alcohol," Wilson wrote. "PPD officers have, on more than one occasion, had to pull Brian from the water during times of suspected drug use."

An autopsy was conducted Monday at the State Medical Examiner's Office. The medical examiner will determine the official cause of death, but Seymour said the evidence so far supports the initial police findings. He said the case will remain open until lab results are returned and a final report completed.

Wilson also apologized to the public for the delay in providing details, saying police had difficulty locating family to notify.

"Our condolences go out to the Colbert family and those that knew him," Wilson said.  

Anyone with information regarding the investigation is asked to contact Prineville Police Detective Kathryn Bottoms at 541-417-4168.

Police also thanked the Crook County Sheriff's Office, Crook County Fire and Rescue, and the DA's office for their assistance in the investigation.

Central Oregon / Crime And Courts / News / Top Stories

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.

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