The County Coroner confirmed today that Ronald Young, a homeless man, died April 8 after a friend summoned an ambulance to East Beach. The cause of death was deemed to be alcohol poisoning, said County Sheriff’s Lt. Butch Arnoldi. Though the coroner would not disclose the alcohol content of Young’s blood, Arnoldi said that blood alcohol of 0.4 percent is considered deadly, and Young’s was higher than that. He said a companion of Young’s walked away from their site on the beach to watch a softball game; when he returned, he found Young unconscious and blue in the face. He called an ambulance, which transported Young to the hospital. Young’s next of kin, a son and a sister, were found and notified of his death.
Social worker Ken Williams expressed frustration that police had not notified him, or others who work with the homeless, of the death. Williams said he heard about it from a couple of homeless women who told him they saw Young’s body on the beach. Young’s death brings to 14 the number of homeless people who have died on the South Coast this year, compared to 18 in all of 2008. Homeless care workers are on heightened alert due to the high death rate, exacerbated by a belief that two of this year’s deaths were homicides, and a resurgence of positive TB tests among the homeless.
A police spokesperson contacted yesterday said that there was no incident report pertaining to the death, and Arnoldi said that is probably because there were no signs of foul play.