GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A man found dead next to a car repair shop in Grand Rapids wasnot the victim of foul play, but police said they don't know whatled to his death.
Police on Tuesday identified the victim as Thomas P. Pauli, 52,who lived in Grand Rapids but had no permanent address. Detectivesstopped short of saying he was homeless.
Pauli appeared almost trapped by a barbed-wire fence, leaving atrail of footprints in the snow before climbing over it. A trail ofblood in the snow led around abandoned vehicles to a van, wherePauli died sometime over the weekend.
Grand Rapids police said they were trying to determine why Paulidied along the van next to the old A to Z Radiator shop in the 600block of S. Division Ave.
It appeared he had cut himself while jumping the fence. "Thereare questions that are unanswered," said Grand Rapids Police Det.Sgt. Chris Postma.
Don Lamse, 70, who operates a car repair shop in the building,said he walked outside about 9:30 a.m. Monday to look for a part.He found Pauli crouched in a kneeling position.
"I thought he was trying to stay warm," Lamse said. "I don'tknow exactly what put him there...It's been very cold, and I'veseen where, occasionally, people use vehicles to get out of thecold. I don't know if that was his intention."
Temperatures over the weekend dipped below zero. Lamse saidPauli was fully clothed and wearing a coat. Lamse said he at firstbelieved the body was a pile of blankets.
"I hollered to him. He didn't move. I touched him. He didn'tmove."
He said he last checked the area late in the day on Friday.
Police said they found identification on the body and laterconfirmed his name on Tuesday. Detectives had received calls frommore than a dozen people, asking whether the body was that of theirmissing relative, Postma said.
Detectives were trying to determine what led him there. Anautopsy revealed there appears to be no sign of foul play and thecause of death is pending toxicology results.
Based on footprints in the snow, it appeared Pauli was in a lotbehind the shop before searching for a place to jump the fence.
Not far to the right, a driveway leads out of the lot to SouthDivision Avenue.
It appears Pauli jumped the fence and landed on an abandonedcar, where the snow was blood-stained. He then left a trail to thespot near the van.
If you have any information, you are asked to contact the GrandRapids Police Department or SilentObserver.
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