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Fargo police ID homeless man who likely died of exposure

FARGO – A man found dead Thursday under a flatbed pickup near a commercial building in Fargo has been identified as Randy Lee LaFontaine, 48.

Police said LaFontaine had no permanent address. He is believed to have frozen to death, which would make it the area’s first death in six years from exposure to harsh winter weather.

Lt. Joel Vettel said Friday that LaFontaine, who was found about four blocks from the Gladys Ray Shelter, was a frequent user of the homeless shelter, the metro area's only facility that takes in homeless people who have been drinking alcohol.

“He had been there a number of times within the last several years,” Vettel said, adding that LaFontaine had been at Gladys Ray within the last two weeks.

Officers found no signs of trauma and do not suspect foul play, Vettel said.

Police believe LaFontaine was dead for several hours or more and most likely froze to death, Vettel said, though they can’t be sure until an autopsy is performed.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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