Hanged Port Hadlock man identified by coroner

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PORT TOWNSEND — A man who hanged himself May 7 in a field adjacent to Chimacum Creek Primary School has been identified as David Allen Smith, 28, of Port Hadlock.

The Jefferson County coroner identified him Tuesday.

“He was a likeable kid,” said his aunt, Linda Mustafa of Port Townsend.

“He was always trying but never seemed to quite get there.

“He always seemed so sad.”

Services were held Tuesday morning.

Smith had climbed up a fir tree within 12 hours of the time his body was cut down from it at about noon.

He had been wearing a red sweatshirt, which made him easy to spot. Had he been wearing dark clothes, he might not have been discovered for several days, according to Prosecuting Attorney Scott Rosekrans, who also serves as coroner.

No autopsy was done. The cause of death was clear, Rosekrans said.

The identification was delayed because notification of Smith’s next-of-kin was not an easy process, according to Joe Nole, the chief criminal deputy for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

“He had children from different relationships, and we didn’t want them learning about this from the newspaper,” Nole said.

Rosekrans said he had recognized Smith from a past case in which Smith was the victim.

School personnel were the first to spot Smith’s body. They immediately called the Jefferson County sheriff and East Jefferson Fire-Rescue, then sequestered the students so they wouldn’t see the recovery.

The tree was several hundred feet from the school in an area next to the Jefferson County Library.

To protect students from exposure to the situation, all children and staff remained inside the school for recesses and lunch until police and fire officials had completed their work and cleared the scene, according to a letter sent to parents from Principal Mark Barga.

None saw body

The school has 238 students from pre-kindergarten to second grade. None of them saw the body, according to East Jefferson Fire-Rescue’s Bill ­Beezley.

Smith was preceded in death by his father, Larry Smith.

Aside from Mustafa, survivors include his mother, Patricia Patton of Port Hadlock; two sisters, Jean Smith and Jessica Mosier; and a son, Trey Smith, 11.

Mustafa said Smith had two other small children but that their location is unknown.

The body was cremated, with the ashes returned to the family.

Last modified: May 20. 2014 5:17PM
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