A parking enforcement officer unknowingly gave a parking ticket to a dead man in the driver's seat of a car Tuesday afternoon.

A parking-enforcement officer unknowingly gave a parking ticket to a dead man in the driver’s seat of a car Tuesday afternoon.

The officer had marked cars with chalk at about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday and returned just after noon to find one car with a chalk mark still parked in the same place. The zone where the car was parked, on the 1700 block of Airport Way South, was a 2-hour parking zone. The driver, a 36-year-old man, was seemingly asleep in the driver’s seat. The officer rapped on the window to wake him and tell him to move the car, but she got no response. The officer assumed the man was a sound sleeper and put a $42 parking violation on the car’s windshield.

About a half-hour later, police got a call from the man’s girlfriend, who with a friend had found his car. She’d called a car dealer to get the vehicle’s GPS position, police said. The girlfriend found all four doors unlocked, the sunroof open and the man unresponsive.

Seattle Fire medics pronounced the man dead at the scene.

The cause of death is unknown, Seattle police said, and there was no sign of violence. Fire Department medics said the man probably had died early Tuesday morning, hours before the parking-enforcement officer marked the car’s tire.

The man’s girlfriend said she had last seen him at about 9:45 Monday morning, according to a police report. She’d tried to call his cellphone at about 12:30 p.m. that day, but when the phone picked up all she heard was music before the call was disconnected. When she tried to call back, she got the man’s voice mail and assumed the phone’s battery had gone dead.

A witness reported seeing someone moving around in the car Monday, when it was apparently parked in the same place. Later that day, around 4 p.m., the same witness returned to see a man apparently asleep in the driver’s seat. When the witness returned at noon Tuesday, he saw the same car still parked on the block and the man in the same position.

The man’s girlfriend and some friends drove around Monday night trying to find him or his car, but had no luck.

Police never found the man’s keys, wallet or cellphone in his clothes or anywhere in the car.

Jill Kimball: 206-464-2136 or jkimball@seattletimes.com