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UPDATE: Body found hanging behind Newhall strip mall in apparent suicide

Sheriff's officials spent 40 minutes trying to talk man down

Posted: July 28, 2012 12:39 p.m.
Updated: July 28, 2012 4:01 p.m.

Firefighters carry the body of a man after a Southern California Edison worker recovered it from atop a utility pole behind a strip mall on the 23600 block of Newhall Avenue in Newhall on Saturday.


A man climbed to the top of a 50-foot-tall electrical utility pole in Newhall today and hanged himself after sheriff’s deputies spent 40 minutes trying to talk him down.

A witness said the man was standing on top of the utility pole’s crossbar. As deputies tried to coax him down, he lay down across the bar, placed something around his neck, lowered himself below the bar and then let go, the witness said.

The man never said a word back to deputies, another witness said.

Deputies responded to a call reporting a man on a utility pole behind a strip mall in the 23600 block of Newhall Avenue at 11:30 a.m., said Lt. Mark Hershey of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. The man hanged himself about 12:10 p.m., Hershey said.

The man’s identity was unknown and his next of kin had not been notified by mid-afternoon, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Detective Kevin Lowe. Lowe said he didn’t know if the man was carrying identification because he couldn’t examine the body until the coroner arrived.

Southern California Edison Co. crews cut the power to the pole at approximately 12:30 p.m. so the body could be safely removed. The body was removed from the pole at approximately 1:45 p.m. and power was restored around 2 p.m.

The man, who was shirtless and wearing jeans, may have hanged himself with his T-shirt, said one witness to the incident who identified himself only as Ramon.

Ramon works at the strip mall in front of the area where the hanging occurred. He said the man let go of the utility pole to hang himself and never touched the electrical wires.

Ramon said he thought the man was trying to safely climb back down the pole. Sheriff’s deputies tried to talk the man down but the man never said anything back to the deputies, Ramon said.

Lowe said he could not confirm that the man hanged himself with a T-shirt, but he said the man definitely used materials he brought to the scene.





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