GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids police have released the name of a homeless man whose body was found in the Grand River Friday.
They still don’t know how 41-year-old Scott Hardy died. As of Monday, they were awaiting autopsy results from the medical examiner.
His death come less than a month after another man who was homeless, Santino Ysasi, was killed in what police ruled a homicide.
The men knew each other. Their deaths have advocates reminding the homeless to watch out for themselves and each other.
A small memorial to Hardy has been placed along the river trail near the Bridge Street Bridge in downtown Grand Rapids. Just a few feet away, the Grand River flows through downtown. Hardy’s body was found by a fisherman in the water Friday.
It was less than one month ago that Hardy attended a memorial for another homeless man who was killed on the campus of the now-shuttered St. James Catholic Church.
Police know what happened to Santino Ysasi. His death certificate indicates he died from severe head wounds. Police are still looking for a suspect.
“Living on the streets is very precarious. You’re in a lot of dangerous situations,” said Reggie Lott, the assistant director for Matthew’s House Ministry, a homeless outreach program on Grand Rapids’ northwest side.
Both Ysasi and Hardy spent time at Matthew’s House.
While Hardy’s cause of death hasn’t been determined, advocates for the homeless are concerned about what they’re hearing on the streets.
“A lot of people are blaming other people for what’s happening,” Lott said. “I just don’t think they’re accurate with their accusation. Because I believe if they were, the police would be on top of it. So we’re asking them not to take things into their own hands as well.”
Still, Lott is putting out the word to the homeless community.
“Use the buddy system as much as possible,” he said.
He’s also reminding people to be aware of their surroundings.
“We know that there’s some unsavory and untrustworthy people out there. So we can understand that sometimes you want to be alone. But for the most part, we’re asking them to be careful. Come here because it’s a safe place,” Lott said.
If you have information on either of the men’s deaths, you’re asked to call GRPD at 616.456.3400 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.