Autopsy provides long-awaited answers in unattended death case that baffled police
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The mysterious death of a 61-year-old man who was found wedged behind a guardrail above the H-1 Freeway in Punchbowl in March baffled investigators.
David Dodd was last seen leaving a friend’s house on his bicycle March 16. Hours later, he was found dead covered in what police described as suspicious injuries. His bike was missing.
Now, Dodd’s autopsy report is shedding new light on his final moments.
Dodd’s body was found near the intersection of Captain Cook Avenue and Emerson Street — just behind a guardrail in an overgrown strip of grass no more than a couple feet wide.
It’s a case that prompted police to ask the public for tips.
In a March interview, Crimestoppers Sgt. Chris Kim described the status of the case this way: “What is he doing in that area? How did he sustain those injuries? That’s what we’re trying to figure out.” An autopsy appears to have answered some of those questions.
According to the medical examiner, Dodd died of blunt force injuries to his head and chest stemming from an accident.
Friends told investigators Dodd’s bike didn’t have brakes. It’s believed he crashed it after coming down a steep hill, fracturing his skull, sternum and ribs.
Investigators apparently never got the chance to inspect Dodd’s bike to corroborate that information. According to records it was not recovered.
Detectives believe the bicycle was stolen it from the scene.
“The way he was found, certainly, is horrible,” said Malia Harunaga, director of Adult Education for Hawaii’s Bicycling League. “It’s really tragic.”
She says studies show, half of all bike injuries that happen on the road are crashes that only involve the bicyclist. “Either crashing due to poor road conditions or other issues. Mechanical issues. So certainly having your bike in good working order is really important,” she said.
Hawaii’s Bicycling League offers free workshops where people can learn about bike maintenance. Instructors can also help boost bike handling skills. Click here for more information.
Despite Dodd’s death being ruled an accident, HNN Investigates confirmed the case is still open. HPD wouldn’t say why, but did tell us the case remains classified as an unattended death.
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