Santa Fe police are investigating the death of a homeless person in Santa Fe — the third this week.
Antonio Benavidez, 39, was found dead at about 3 p.m. Thursday at Frank Ortiz Dog Park on Camino de Las Crucitas, according to police reports.
Police spokesman Greg Gurulé said Benavidez appeared to be homeless, though he did have a Santa Fe address, and had a history of mental health problems. He is suspected to have died from a drug overdose.
Benavidez’s death was reported to a security guard at the city’s Main Library on Washington Street by another homeless person, according to police reports. The woman handed the guard a hand-drawn map and said, “They found my brother dead, call the non-emergency number for the police.”
The woman then left, got on a black-and-red bicycle with a small trailer attached to it and headed toward the Plaza, the report said.
Officers found Benavidez’s body, and drug paraphernalia next to him, inside a homemade tent at the dog park, about 200 feet from the roadway, according to the report. An ID band on his wrist showed that he had been treated at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center on Sept. 14.
Court records show Benavidez had been arrested Sept. 14 at a home in the 1800 block of Pacheco Street on drug-related charges. A criminal complaint said Benavidez’s mother advised officers that Benavidez had schizophrenia and was threatening her and himself the night before. He had locked himself in the bathroom.
Officers called the county’s mobile crisis response team, which is made up of mental health professionals, to speak with Benavidez, and they found no sign of him wanting to hurt himself or anyone else, the complaint stated.
Benavidez did have outstanding warrants, officers said, and they found methamphetamine and marijuana in his backpack, according to the complaint. He was medically cleared at Christus St. Vincent and then booked into the Santa Fe County jail.
Thursday’s police report said officers were able to contact Benavidez’s distraught mother and sister to inform them about his death, and called the police department’s chaplain to the home to offer support.
On Monday afternoon, another homeless person, a 37-year-old woman whose name has not yet been released, was found dead at a homeless encampment area in a field behind a storage area near the 3400 block of Cerrillos Road. Police suspect she may have died of alcohol asphyxia.
While foul play is not suspected in either of the two deaths, the death of 37-year-old Aaron Chapman, whose body was found Sunday on the bank of the Santa Fe River downtown underneath the Guadalupe Street bridge, is considered a homicide.
Chapman, who may have been a more recent homeless resident of Santa Fe, died of blunt force trauma, according to police. Detectives are still investigating his killing; no arrests have been made.