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Man freezes to death in Behchoko

Mike W. Bryant
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, March 25, 2009

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - An investigation is ongoing after a man was found frozen to death in the community of Behchoko on Sunday afternoon.

RCMP identified the victim as Scott Franki, 28.

Sgt. Wayne Norris said the man's body was found after a person in the community followed a trail of clothing on the ground and traced it back to a home where the man was found frozen and in a state of undress outside. Police were summoned to the scene at around 1:30 p.m.

"It's my understanding that he had disrobed, which is a common phenomenon with people that suffer from hypothermia," said Norris.

"They have a sense of euphoria, of being warm so they start to disrobe."

Norris said it doesn't appear the man was a resident of the home outside where his body was found.

It remains unclear how long Franki was outside or what he was doing before he froze but foul play is not suspected, according to an RCMP press release issued Monday. Norris couldn't say whether alcohol or any other factors may have contributed to his death.

Garth Eggenberger, chief coroner of the NWT, said Franki's body was sent to Edmonton for an autopsy on Monday, and expects preliminary results to come back by either Thursday or Friday. Eggenberger was unaware of any freezing death cases this winter in the NWT.

Environment Canada doesn't record weather temperatures for Behchoko but it was -23 C in Whati - the nearest community to Behchoko - at 5 a.m. on Sunday.

Behchoko is 105 km northwest of Yellowknife.

The RCMP press release warned people to dress for the weather and let families and friends know where they are and when the intend to return home when travelling.