Man, believed homeless, found dead in Petaluma

A man, believed to be homeless, was found dead in downtown Petaluma on Sunday.

Leonard Neal Smith, 63, was found dead by a fisherman near a park bench by the Petaluma River early Sunday morning, Police Sgt. Ed Crosby said. The bench is adjacent to the Foundry Wharf business park at H and 1st streets.

There were no obvious signs of trauma or foul play, Crosby said. An autopsy is pending to determine the cause of his death.

He is the latest in a string of at least 11 homeless people found dead along the railroad tracks or Petaluma River since August of 2013.

Foul play is not suspected in any of the deaths.

Smith had lived in Petaluma in the past before moving to Montana. He had returned to Petaluma recently and was believed to have been homeless for about the past month. It didn’t look like he had been camping where he was found, Crosby said.

Staff Writer Jamie Hansen blogs about education at You can reach her at 521-5205 or On Twitter @jamiehansen.

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