Taloyoak man found dead in snowbank
Man found outside friend's home

Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

NNSL (Dec 07/98) - A 36-year-old Taloyoak man is dead and police are still investigating to find out how he ended up lying in a snowbank in Cambridge Bay early last Thursday morning.

David Anaija was found in the snow without a jacket near a friend's home in Cambridge Bay where he was visiting while attending a workshop in the community.

RCMP Sgt. Jim MacDougall said Anaija had been at his friend's house earlier in the evening drinking and had left to go back to the Co-op hotel where he was staying.

He maintains police do not believe foul play was involved.

"The residents thought he had gone home until they discovered him some time later behind the residence in the snowbank," he said.

MacDougall said police arrived at the scene at 4:30 a.m. when they helped Anaija's friends, who found him, try to revive him. He was then transported to the Cambridge Bay Health Centre where nurses and doctors tried to resuscitate him for nearly four hours.

"Despite their efforts, he was pronounced dead at 8 a.m.," said MacDougall. "They thought they could revive him."

Anaija's death is the first of its kind in the community in eight or nine years, according to the RCMP detachment.

But, MacDougall said, they've had some close calls during the two years he's spent in the community of 1,400.

"There's been several cases where we've picked people up who've passed out and in the snow and had frostbite in varying degrees," he said. "This may be the first death in a while, but similar incidents have happened."

MacDougall urges people to take great care when they are partying during the winter months.

"I just encourage people -- especially when they're drinking -- to look out for each other," he said. "It could happen. People could freeze."

On Thursday, there had been no order for the body to be transported to Edmonton for an autopsy.

Police and the coroner's office are continuing to investigate Anaija's death.