SAN DIEGO – California Highway Patrol officers discovered the body of a homeless man inside an Interstate 5 freeway off ramp Tuesday morning in Mission Hills.
The man, in his mid-50s to early 60s, had been living there for months, according to a friend who was with him when he died. The friend called 911 around 6 a.m. to report the body. He led emergency workers to the overpass on Pacific Highway, where it crosses I-5 north. That’s where San Diego firefighters and paramedics found the man’s body inside. CHP investigators found no evidence of foul play.
“It’s a void underneath a bridge, probably an old maintenance or storage area” CHP Officer Matt Cavataio said of the area. “The panel had been taken off, he had made a camp up there.”
The camp had a bed, small propane stove, curtains, pictures and food. Officers also found needles on its floor.
“That’s what they do,” Cavataio said about homeless people in the area. “They find places to stay, wherever they can camp, they will.”
The victim’s friend, who did not want to go on camera or be identified, referred to him as “Guac.” He did not know the victim’s real name. He said the victim simply stopped breathing this morning.
Officers at the scene said he could have died from medical causes or a possible drug overdose. The San Diego Medical Examiner has not released the man’s name or an official cause of death.