Port Hadlock man found dead, hanging in tree near Chimacum Creek Primary School

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

CHIMACUM — A 28-year-old Port Hadlock man fatally hanged himself about 45 feet up a fir tree Wednesday on property adjacent to the Chimacum Creek Primary School, authorities said.

Prosecuting Attorney Scott Rosekrans, acting as coroner, said the man climbed up the fir tree and hanged himself from an upper branch.

Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Menday estimated the body was found about 45 feet from the ground.

Menday said there is “no reason to suspect foul play” and that the death was clearly self-inflicted.

The man, who was not identified by police pending notification of next of kin, was wearing a red sweatshirt, which aided in his discovery, Rosekrans said.

“If he hadn't been wearing red, he could have been up there for a long time,” Rosekrans said.

“I've seen a lot of hanging suicides before, but never when someone was this high up.”

The body was spotted by an employee of the school who had looked toward the field and noticed the red shirt.

School officials notified the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and East Jefferson Fire-Rescue.

The tree was several hundred feet from the school in an area that is adjacent to the Jefferson County Library.

To protect students from exposure to the situation, all children and staff remained inside the school for recesses and lunch until police and fire officials had completed their work and cleared the scene, according to a letter sent to parents from Principal Mark Barga.

Once the body was removed, the students returned to their regular routine and were dismissed at the normal time.

The letter, written with the assistance of Bill Beezley, fire department spokesman, said parents should discuss the situation with their children “as they see fit” and referred further questions to the Sheriff's Office.

The school has 238 students from pre-kindergarten to second grade. Beezley said none saw the body.

The body was taken to Kosec Funeral Home in Port Townsend.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 14. 2014 11:20PM
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