The death of a 39-year-old man found in an irrigation ditch near Biddle Road and Stevens Street Monday appears to have been accidental, based on preliminary autopsy results that point to hypothermia.
James Olson, deputy state medical examiner, determined there had been no violence leading to the death of Ryan Michael Snyder, though investigators initially thought his death looked suspicious.
Olson is awaiting a toxicology report to help him determine the exact cause of death, though he said it appears to be consistent with hypothermia.
Snyder was found by a passerby who saw him lying in the ditch off of the bike path. The temperature the previous evening had been 25 degrees.
Next of kin have been notified.
Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said investigators believe Snyder was likely homeless and had been homeless for some time.
He was wearing a T-shirt, but a light jacket was lying nearby.
Although there was about an inch of water in the irrigation ditch, Snyder wasn’t in it.
“He was more face down, not in the water,” Budreau said.
Snyder had abrasions on his body that officers thought might be consistent with an attack, but the autopsy concluded the abrasions had happened previously.
Snyder, who was from the Grants Pass area, was recently released from prison on a federal weapon conviction. He also had been arrested in 2007 by Medford police on a theft charge.
Officers had contact with Snyder at 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, when he came out of some bushes near where police fill up their vehicles, Budreau said.
“He appeared to be under the influence of a stimulant,” he said.
Officers asked if they could contact a friend for him, but Snyder didn’t want the help, Budreau said.
“It’s still very unfortunate,” Budreau said.