Police on Wednesday afternoon found a deceased man who was partially frozen to the ground. He was identified as 37-year-old Marvin Paine of Akiachak. Andre Achee is the Bethel Police Lieutenant. He says police took a call about a body at the 150 block of Akakeek street in a cul-de-sac.
“They said the person was unresponsive and partially frozen to the ice. Officers and medics responded to the scene and found that person was deceased,” said Achee.
His next of kin has been notified. Police believe that Paine had been drinking, but they don’t know to what degree. Police say there were no obvious signs of trauma and foul play is not suspected. They think he was at the location for less than 24 hours.
“We suspect that on the evening hours on the 7th, he probably went down in that area around that time. In the evening time, it did get down to about 20 degrees, cold enough to freeze. In the daytime, it was warmer, so you will have standing water, and in the night time, it did freeze, so that’s how we suspect he got into that position or predicament,” said Achee.
The State Medical Examiner Office was contacted and the remains will be transported to Anchorage to determine the cause of death. That exact cause of death is not known, but some signs do point to exposure.
“It’s premature, we suspect that, it’s just a suspicion that it will be an exposure death, but we’re waiting for the determination to be made by the state medical examiners office,” said Achee.
There have been efforts locally to prevent outdoor deaths. The Bethel Winter House opened up this winter with a goal of having zero deaths due to exposure. Last winter, four people died in Bethel from the cold.