Merced death deemed suspicious by authorities

rparsons@mercedsun-star.comDecember 11, 2013 

— A man who was working in Merced died early Tuesday under circumstances authorities are calling suspicious.

Mark Waite, 27, was pronounced dead at a Merced hospital after family members said he became “unresponsive” Monday night.

Merced police Sgt. Scott Skinner said investigators do not believe Waite was killed intentionally, but said more information would be available after an autopsy.

Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin said Waite suffered facial injuries consistent with falling down or possibly being involved in some type of altercation.

Investigators said Waite got drunk at his job late Monday and was taken to his brother’s home by his employer. Family members told police that Waite frequently drank alcohol “to the point of passing out,” investigators said.

“He apparently became belligerent at this brother’s house and was asked to leave,” Skinner said.

Waite left, then returned to his brother’s house about 30 minutes later and collapsed on the floor, police said.

Family members took Waite to the bathroom to take a shower and he may have fallen down in the bathtub, police said.

“At that point, he became unresponsive,” Skinner said. “His family also noticed some trauma to his face that they had not noticed at first because it was dark and they believed he had simply passed out.”

Pazin said investigators cannot be sure whether Waite injured himself from a fall or whether he was involved in some type of fight.

Results of the autopsy conducted Tuesday afternoon were not available.

Reporter Rob Parsons can be reached at rparsons@mercedsunstar.com or (209) 385-2482.

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