Mother baffled by freezing death of son

A grieving Saskatoon mother says she does not know why her son would stay out in the cold for so long that he would die from exposure.
Nancy Tanner says her son loved the outdoors, but can't understand why he would have stayed out in very cold weather. ((CBC))
A grieving Saskatoon mother says she does not know why her son would stay out in the cold for so long that he would die of exposure.

On Dec. 31, the frozen body of 25-year-old Dustin Tanner was discovered in a secluded part of that city's riverbank.

Police say their investigation shows Tanner was not the victim of foul play.

His mother, Nancy Tanner, says she is at a loss trying to figure out what happened.

The weather in Saskatoon at the end of December was exceptionally cold, with lows dipping to -36 C in the early hours of Dec. 31.

Tanner's body was found around 11 a.m. that morning, about two kilometres from his Saskatoon apartment, an assisted living complex known as the Lighthouse.

His mother says she was told he was curled up beside a makeshift fire along the riverbank. It was not known if the fire was out when he was found.

The frozen body of Dustin Tanner, 25, was found Dec. 31 in a secluded area just off the walking trails along Saskatoon's riverbank. ((CBC))
Tanner was known to have enjoyed walking the riverbank trails at all times of the year. He was also a familiar figure among Saskatoon's downtown crowd, walking the main streets wearing a black suit, red tie and fedora.

Nancy Tanner said her son loved the outdoors.

"To be outdoors is his thing," Tanner added. "But why he would be out that late on a cold night like that I don't know."

"One of his friends at Lighthouse said 'Dustin didn't come home. Let's go look for him,'" Tanner told CBC News in an interview Wednesday. "They went to look for him, and they found him and alerted the police that he was there. They said he looked like he was just curled up around his camp fire sleeping."

Tanner last saw her son on Christmas Day.

"We bought him lots of clothes for Christmas. Warm hoodies, mittens and everything," Tanner said. "He'd run into the bathroom and get them all on and they fit perfect. But yet after a couple hours, he'd go put his suit and tie back on. I don't know, that was his thing, he liked it."

A memorial service is set for Friday. Tanner will be buried in Brandon, Man., in the spring.