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Body found at Petaluma recycling center ID'd as homeless man

A body found at a Petaluma recycling center has been identified as that of a 30-year-old homeless man.

The remains of Luis Gomez-Diaz were discovered by Novato Disposal employees Friday afternoon.

Authorities believe he might have climbed into a commercial recycling bin, possibly in Petaluma, and was transported by a refuse truck to the center on Petaluma Boulevard South.

His cause of death was not yet known. It's possible that he died of hypothermia in freezing overnight weather or was crushed by disposal equipment, Lt. Tim Duke said Saturday.

Duke said he may have crawled into the bin to get warm.

"All indications are it's going to be accidental," Duke said.

Still, detectives are treating the death as suspicious. An autopsy was expected to be conducted Monday.

Gomez-Diaz was from Mexico, but has lived in Eureka and Santa Rosa, Sonoma County sheriff's Sgt. Carlos Basurto said.

He was last seen Thursday night in Santa Rosa. Detectives were trying to figure out how he arrived in Petaluma.

He was a transient who stayed with family periodically in Santa Rosa and had contacts in Petaluma, Basurto said.


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