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Talent runner's death was ruled 'natural causes'

The recent ordeal with Dr. Ashley Laird made me think about that runner who disappeared in Ashland a few months ago. I know that, unfortunately, they found him deceased, which is so incredibly sad, but I never remember reading about the actual cause of his death. Was that ever determined?

— Bill F., Medford

Toxicology tests never pointed to the exact cause of Talent ultramarathon runner Todd Ragsdale, who went missing Jan. 28 and was found in the Ashland Watershed near Lithia Park after an exhaustive 2½-day search. The official report's determination, which was completed in June, was "undetermined natural causes."

The autopsy and toxicology report was only able to rule out suspicious causes of death, according to Jackson County Sheriff Corey Falls. The tests ruled out common poisons, controlled substances, alcohol and other medicines.

"All the variety of tests came back negative," Falls said in June.

A February profile in Runner's World shed more detail, but no additional answers. Ragsdale's wife told the magazine that he had been running down Pete's Punisher loop, vomited for an unknown reason, then went down to a nearby creek where he lost consciousness.

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.