A 52-year-old Camano Island man committed suicide after becoming trapped beneath a large tree that crashed into his travel trailer early...
A 52-year-old Camano Island man committed suicide after becoming trapped beneath a large tree that crashed into his travel trailer early Christmas Day.
The man has been identified as Richard Allan Payne, according to Dr. Robert Bishop, the Island County coroner. Payne died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Bishop said.
Investigators think high winds uprooted a 100-foot-tall hemlock tree, causing it to fall on Payne’s travel trailer, which was parked on family property on Tamarack Lane in a remote, wooded area at the island’s south end, Bishop said. Payne was sleeping on his stomach when the tree fell around 2 a.m., knocking down a wall and pinning Payne’s legs, Bishop said.
Payne had been living in the trailer about 14 months and had a handgun for personal protection, Bishop said.
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“The tree fell right across where he was lying — a few inches either way and he would’ve been killed or spared completely,” Bishop said.
Payne’s legs were not broken, but he had no way to summon help since he didn’t have a phone or any neighbors nearby, Bishop said.
“He had no reason to believe that anybody would be coming by for days,” he said. “I have to assume he thought he’d die there.”
But at 3:06 p.m. the same day, a woman who lives in the area dropped by to say hello and found Payne’s body, Bishop said.
He said there is no way of scientifically determining how long Payne was pinned before he shot himself.
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or firstname.lastname@example.org