The Medford man found dead in a Medford irrigation ditch Sunday had reportedly made suicidal comments to an acquaintance before he went missing two days before, police said Tuesday.
Paul Norman Munday, a 54-year-old transient, was found in an irrigation ditch about 8:30 p.m. Monday near the intersection of Lynn Street and Gore Avenue, behind a Sierra Pine mill.
Several hours earlier, Munday's acquaintance had reported being concerned for Munday's welfare, noting that he hadn't been seen since Saturday and had made suicidal statements.
"He was talking about 'ending it all,' " said Lt. Mike Budreau of Medford police.
Police said Munday was a registered sex offender who had come into contact with police in the past. Officers knew he was homeless and started searching the area where he camped near the Sierra Pine mill.
A witness who lives near the area where Munday died recounted seeing a man matching Munday's description put down his walking cane before wading into the irrigation ditch.
"They saw this guy walking with a cane and step over some type of a guard rail after resting the cane on the guard rail," Budreau said. "(The witness) thought it was odd because the cane was still there.
Police found the cane and retrieved Munday's body a short distance downstream. The body was underwater and trapped against a culvert in the ditch. Heavy rains had caused the waters in the ditch to flow swiftly.
The case remains under investigation, and the cause of death has not yet been established. An autopsy has not yet been scheduled, police said.
"It's looking like it's going to be suicide or accidental unless something in the autopsy tells otherwise," Budreau said.
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at email@example.com.