Sixth Exposure Death in Gallup Takes Navajo Life

police do not crossPublished February 18, 2016

GALLUP  At some time before Gallup Police arrived at the scene of an exposure death in the early-morning hours on Jan. 8, the deadly cold of the border town night claimed its sixth victim of the season.

Sgt. Scott Montoya found Wesley Yazzie unresponsive with no pulse at 5:29 a.m. outside a business off Highway 66 on the east side of Gallup, the victim’s shirt pulled up to expose his abdomen, jacket thrown to the side, and body cold to the touch. The sergeant checked for a pulse, but found none, just like the workers who called it in.

A witness statement said workers “found a male Native American” on the sidewalk near the business where they came to check if the parking area needed snow shoveled. Gallup PD asked that witnesses not be identified for this reporting.

“I checked for a pulse but there was no sign of life,” the witness statement said.

As another officer established a perimeter with barrier tape, Montoya checked the area and found a plastic, 750 milliliter Albertson’s brand vodka bottle. A toxicology report has not come back yet.

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.


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