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Homeless man's death in Fargo caused by exposure

FARGO - Results from the state medical examiner's office indicate a homeless man found dead here on Jan. 9 died of hypothermia, said Fargo police Lt. Joel Vettel.

Randy Lee LaFontaine, 48, was found lifeless under a truck in the 1900 block of Second Avenue South.

LaFontaine, who had no permanent address, was found about four blocks from the Gladys Ray Shelter. He was a frequent client at Gladys Ray, which is the metro area's only facility that takes in homeless people who have been consuming alcohol.

Autopsy results showed LaFontaine had alcohol in his system when he died, although Vettel wasn't sure how much. His death was ruled accidental.

Police had earlier said it was likely he had died from exposure to the cold. He was found in the early afternoon on a day when the high temperate was 24 degrees and the low was 2. The day before, the high was 2 degrees and the low was 21 below.

LaFontaine was the second person to die of exposure in Fargo in seven years.

The last person was 43-year-old Vernon Weigand, whose body was found in January 2008 on the sidewalk in front of the bishop's residence at St. Mary's Cathedral on Broadway.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541