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Man, 29, found dead near Bear Creek

Medford police investigate the death of a 29-year-old man Wednesday morning near Hawthorne Park. The man’s death was believed to be cold-weather related. [Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune]

Medford police believe hypothermia might have played a role in the death of a homeless man whose body was found Wednesday morning near the Bear Creek Greenway.

At about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, a bystander found a 29-year-old man nonresponsive along the creek near the 10th Street Bridge and flagged down an officer, according to Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau.

Once on scene, police declared the man deceased.

The decedent was identified as 29-year-old Manuel Barboza-Valerio. Next of kin have been notified. Budreau said local officers were familiar with the man.

Police said they found no signs of foul play. Budreau said the man had unspecified medical issues.

“We also believe it to be weather-related based on the circumstances,” Budreau said.

The man had removed some of his clothing prior to going into the creek, and Budreau said disrobing is often linked to hypothermia.

There were also signs that the man was disoriented — another symptom of hypothermia.

“He wasn’t in a camp or a sleeping bag ... he was basically by the creek,” Budreau said.

Because of below-freezing temperatures overnight Tuesday, the city of Medford declared a severe weather event and had opened a weather shelter operated by a local nonprofit at the Navigation Center, 685 Market St., in Medford.

For text alerts about when Medford will open its next severe weather shelter, text MED4SHELTERS to 888777.