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Dead body found in west Durango ruled a homicide

Police able to identify human remains

Human remains found in a wooded area just west of Ella Vita Court in June belonged to a 48-year-old Durango man who was killed in a homicide, the Durango Police Department said Friday.

The badly decomposed remains were found June 27, about 400 yards from the nearest home in west Durango.

Through forensic science, authorities said the remains belonged to Dylan Gerald Douglas. La Plata County Coroner Jann Smith ruled his death a homicide.

“He had injuries to the skeleton and body that were more than likely life-threatening,” Smith said. “We’re pretty positive it was at the hands of someone else.”

Smith said a toxicology and pathology test ruled out the possibly Douglas died of an overdose. And, she said the scene was not consistent with a possible explanation that he laid down and died or that he was attacked by an animal.

According to a news release issued by the city of Durango, Douglas’ last known contact was May 18, shortly after he was released from the La Plata County Jail.

On that day, Douglas was seen on Ella Vita Court, near where his body was later discovered, according to the release. Douglas reportedly moved around frequently and spent time at the former homeless camp that was located near the Durango Tech Center.

Durango Police Chief Kamran Afzal said a resident on Ella Vita Court noticed a foul smell near his home for at least 30 days before the body was discovered June 27 when his dog uncovered the remains.

Afzal at the time speculated the body could have been there for months. Authorities were able to recover personal belongings at the scene.

The Durango Police Department is seeking anyone with information in relation to Douglas’ death.

“Every piece of information is valuable in this case, no matter how slight it may be,” the release said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Josh Newman at 375-4733 or Crimestoppers at 247-1112.

“The Durango Police Department would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Douglas. This is a devastating situation for any family, and we hope they find peace and comfort in the days ahead,” the department said in news release.


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