Rochester, MN Police ID Body Found in Soldiers Field Park
Police Captain Casey Moilanen said the man’s death was reported by a man who was living next to him for about a month-and-a-half in an apparent homeless encampment in an area of the park behind the former YMCA building. Officers responded to the man’s report regarding his unresponsive neighbor around 3 a.m.
Moilanen identified the body found in the tent as 69-year-old Marvin Peterson, who was described as homeless. He said Peterson’s neighbor told police he called out to Peterson on Monday morning, did not hear a response and assumed Peterson was in a deep sleep.
The man returned to the encampment between 8-11 p.m. Monday, checked on Peterson again and found he had not moved since the morning. Peterson also had a stiff leg leading his neighbor to believe he was deceased, Moilanen said. The caller told officers he charged his phone after seeing Peterson Monday night and called police when he was able to do so.
Moilanen said so far there are no signs of foul play or suspicious activity. Officers did find drug paraphernalia in the tent and investigators are awaiting the results of an autopsy to determine Peterson’s official cause of the death. The autopsy also includes a toxicology report, the results of which are not expected for several weeks, Moilanen said.
If you or someone you know if struggling with drug and/or alcohol dependence, help is available through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website. To speak to someone on the phone, dial 1-800-622-HELP (1-800-622-4357) or send a text message to 1-800-487-4889.
Peterson’s death is the second to be reported in a homeless encampment in a Rochester park this summer. Last month, a parks department employee discovered the body of 61-year-old Carl Blade in Cook Park along 7th Street Northwest.
A determination of the cause and manner of his death is still pending but police say there were no indications that foul play was involved in his death.
Correction: a previous version of this story identified the deceased as Melvin Peterson