COLUMBIA — A homeless man who was found dead at the Travelodge hotel worried about finding a place to sleep and didn’t have a coat, his family said Monday.
Stanley R. Lamberson, 56, was discovered dead on the concrete of the second floor outdoor walkway of the hotel at approximately 8:30 a.m., said hotel part-owner Leela Jashnani and Columbia police Sgt. Dan Beckman.
Lamberson was released Jan. 28 from the Boone County Jail after being sentenced for disturbing the peace and third-degree domestic assault. He did not have a place to live, said his adopted mother, Blanche Lamberson, 93.
“He called me on Wednesday,” she said. “He said, ‘Mama what am I gonna do, I have no place to go.’ The landlord did not want him to come home (to live with me).”
Foul play is not suspected in Lamberson’s death, and investigators believe he died of natural causes, said Columbia police Sgt. Ken Hammond.
Dori Burke, an investigator at the Boone County Medical Examiner’s Office, said the cause of death is unknown. A toxicology report has not been completed, she said.
“Right now, we don’t have a cause of death,” Burke said. “I know he hadn’t been out there that long, a couple of hours, maybe, deceased. ... He wasn’t even getting stiff yet.”
Blanche Lamberson said her son was taking several prescription medications and suffered from anxiety and depression.
“He was down in the dumps,” the mother said. “I never saw him so low. He was completely exhausted. He didn’t have a winter coat.”
Cindy Mustard, executive director of Columbia’s Voluntary Action Center, which provides assistance to the poor, said about one homeless person a year dies from the elements.
“The main problem is that so many of them (who) live outside have a substance abuse problem,” she said. “They fall asleep, and they aren’t protected from the elements.”
Jeff Segal, 51, of Columbia, who was homeless for two and a half years, said he remembers the feeling of having no place to go.
“That could have been me at one time,” Segal said. “But there are other ways to get inside.”
Cyndy Chapman, regional development director for the Salvation Army, said the organization’s Harbor House at 602 N. Ann St. has been putting out extra cots for the homeless since early December.
“Our regular residents do not sleep on cots, but when we can’t take anymore people in the dorms, they can come in and eat supper with us, and then we give them linens with a sheet, a pillow and a blanket for the night,” she said.
Homeless shelters include the St. Francis House for men and the Z. Lois Bryant House for women, located at 901 and 903 Range Line St., respectively.