Thursday, April 17, 2008

Complaining While Another Freezes To Death

Santa Fe New Mexican 04/15/2008, Page C03

In brief
  Body found in La Tierra identified

  A woman found dead in the front yard of a La Tierra home was identified Monday as a 42year-old homeless city resident, said Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano.
  Patricia Leyba's decomposing body was found Thursday in the yard of a home on Paseo de Pajaro with no identification. Detectives searched the surrounding area and found a backpack at a construction site a quarter of a mile away that contained a document from the Santa Fe County jail with Leyba's name on it, he said.
  Detectives then matched fingerprints and identified the body, Solano said. Leyba had been taken to the jail several times for her own protection, and had been in and out of the county sobering center, where people can be taken to sober up and obtain rehabilitation services, six times in the year the center has been open, he said.
  While investigators believe the woman likely died of exposure, an autopsy didn't determine the cause of death, Solano said. The woman had some evidence of injuries to the side of her head, though they didn't look like they contributed to her death, he said. Investigators don't believe Leyba died as the result of homicide, Solano said.
  Tim Stepetic, a spokesman for the Office of the Medical Investigator, said the cause of death is still under investigation.

Meanwhile, your Santa Fe Mother Blogger was in California painting, purchasing lights, tile, etc for the coastal home remodel. Whales swam by and I hoped that my San Ignacio friend (Skippy—See March 15, 2008 blog) was the one that came the closest to my vision on the northward trek.

I spent days complaining about my housing conditions: Plaster and sawdust everywhere, no heat, one electrical outlet per floor, a failing air mattress, and so on. Spouse tried to break my complaining-cycle by challenging me to several tennis matches on the great public courts in Cambria, Ca. The French pastries he picked up in the mornings were pretty good too. "But I've never liked camping," I whined.

Back in Santa Fe, a spring storm dropped the nighttime temps back into the teens and twenties, and many of Santa Fe's homeless bore more for complaint than my leaky air mattress. Apparently Patricia Leyba did not survive the freezing nighttime temperatures. Unceremoniously, her body was dumped right in the middle of my tony Santa Fe neighborhood.

This is one of the dirty little secrets you won't read in the tourist flyers. We are a city of haves, have more, and have nothing. The late Ms. Leyba fell into the have nothing title. I don't know why. I don't know her circumstances. But I do have strong suspicions as to how this 42-year-old woman became a lost soul in the city of St. Francis of Assisi.

The irony of a dead homeless person on "this" side of town is classic. I'm glad it wasn't me on my morning walk who found her. I'm humbled by the blessings that I've received. I pray for Ms. Leyba's next venture one of peace, warmth and joy.

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