Saint John police combed drifts in blizzard for man found dead outside store
It's not yet known whether 46-year-old Glen Hutchinson's death was related to snowstorm
It could be the end of the week before Saint John police know whether the death of a man who disappeared during Monday night's snowstorm was weather-related, but they say it's not considered suspicious.
The body of Glen Hutchinson, 46, of Fundy Drive was found outside a west side strip mall Tuesday at about 7 a.m., said Sgt. Charles Breen.
A plow operator told police he had seen something that looked like a bag leaning against the wall of Friendly's.- Charles Breen, sergeant
Hutchinson's spouse had reported him missing the night before, at about 5:45 p.m., after he failed to return home from a trip to a store during the blizzard.
"Our officers, because of the seriousness of the weather with the storm, did an extensive search of the area," Breen said.
It was at the height of the storm, he said, when visibility was poor because of falling and blowing snow.
"They were using poles to check in the snowdrifts to make sure that the missing person hadn't fallen down, or wasn't buried by any snow in the area," Breen said.
"Unfortunately, he was not located at the time."
Store about 5-minute walk away
"A plow operator told police he had seen something that looked like a bag leaning against the wall of Friendly's," Breen said, referring to the Friendly Convenience Store in a stripmall at 391 Lancaster Ave.
"Our officers went over and confirmed it was a body."
Breen could not confirm whether police had searched that area, which he described as being "quite a ways from" Hutchinson's home.
According to Google Maps, it's about 350 metres away, approximately a 10-minute walk there and back.
"As I said, the area in the neighbourhood where the male was missing from was searched," Breen said.
An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death. Breen said he expects the results in about three days.
"It may have been weather conditions, it may have been medical," he said. "We're not sure."
But police do not believe Hutchinson died of anything other than natural causes because there are no signs of foul play, he added.
Police blocked off the store parking lot from 7 a.m. onward, according to owner Matthew Cho.
"He was one of my customers," said Cho, who said police showed him the deceased man's identification.
"Not a regular customer, but I know his face," he said. "It's very sad."