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California man found dead in vehicle in Walmart parking lot

January 3, 2018 GMT

Law enforcement discovered the body of a 61-year-old California man who died last weekend in his van in the Walmart parking lot.

David Martinez was found covered with a sleeping bag in his black van at about 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 29, according to Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry. Walmart employees had been concerned after snow started piling up around the vehicle, Curry said.

Police said it appeared Martinez had been living in his van. Temperatures in Kalispell on Saturday night dipped into the single digits.

It is believed Martinez died from natural causes. He reportedly suffered from diabetes. A blood toxicology sample has been submitted to determine if medical issues contributed to his death.

Evergreen resident Kadie Wilson knew Martinez well, and was devastated when she learned of his death. The two were engaged at one point, she said, and he moved from California to the Flathead Valley in May so they could be together.

Wilson said she lost contact with Martinez after an argument, and had been trying to find him. Martinez had been a pro surfer for much of his life, she said. He had family members in California who were also worried about him, she said.

“I don’t want people to think of him as the dead homeless man,” Wilson said. “He was a man who was very loved.”