Investigators have yet to identify a man whose body was found Tuesday morning in Yakima’s downtown North Front Street Historic District.
The body, only feet away from the sidewalk on Front Street, was spotted by a business owner about 7:30 a.m. in a parking lot next to Cafe Melange, one of several popular restaurants in the district.
The man was the victim of apparent violence, although investigators would not be more specific except to rule out a gunshot wound. An autopsy is planned for Thursday. If confirmed, it would be Yakima’s first homicide in nearly three months.
Yakima police Capt. Rod Light appealed to the public for help in identifying the man, who was described as a white male in his mid-50s.
Light said investigators initially suspected the man was a tenant of the nearby Senator or Cascade apartments, home to a number of low-income residents.
By early evening, however, there were no reports of a tenant who fit the description of the man, who was about 5-foot-9 and approximately 225 pounds.
Light said the man had gray or white hair and a beard of similar color. He was wearing blue jeans, brown slip-on loafers and a blue winter coat. He also was wearing eyeglasses.
Based on a witness statement, investigators believe the man’s death probably coincided with a disturbance in the parking lot about 11 or 11:30 p.m. Monday, Light said.
The body went undiscovered for hours because businesses in the area were closed by then. Light said the witness reported the disturbance only after the body was discovered.
Although the man does not appear to be homeless, investigators believe he probably lived in the immediate area or knew someone who lived there, Light said.
If confirmed, the homicide would be Yakima’s first since the bodies of two men from Yakima were found Dec. 21 in a car in the Yakima River Canyon. Police have said one of the men was killed in a Yakima home, while the other was shot in the vehicle found in the canyon.
Four suspects are in custody in that case, which police have blamed on a dispute over a debt.