Homeless man found dead in Flat Branch Park

Monday, March 24, 2008 | 6:09 p.m. CDT; updated 11:34 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

COLUMBIA — A homeless man was found dead Saturday night at Flat BranchPark. He is thought to have died of natural causes, said Sgt. Ken Hammond of the Columbia Police Department.

At 5:37 p.m., police, responding to a 911 medical emergency call, found 53-year-old Jerry D. Garrett lying on a pillow on the south-side staircase of Flat Branch Park, 101 S. Fourth St., Hammond said.

Police found a backpack carrying food and medication near Garrett. None of the medication was toxic, said Lt. Diane Bernhard of the Columbia Police Department. Bernhard said Garrett was homeless, and that they have listed his address as “(the) streets of Columbia,” she said.

Steve Jacobs of the St. Francis House men’s homeless shelter said he did not know whether or not Garrett came to St. Francis House. He said it’s not uncommon for homeless men to stay at Flat Branch Park.

Jacobs said The St. Francis House is forced to turn away four or five people seeking shelter every night because they do not have enough resources to accommodate everybody.

“When we get too many people it just gets too chaotic,” Jacobs said.

Chief Medical Examiner Chris Stacy for the Boone and Callaway County Medical Examiner’s Office could not be reached.

On Feb. 5, 2008, another homeless man, Stanley R. Lamberson, 56, was found dead at the Travelodge Hotel at 900 Vandiver Drive. Investigators believed that Lamberson also died of natural causes.

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