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Police arrest man in connection with suspicious death - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Police arrest man in connection with suspicious death

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BURLINGTON, Vt. - Burlington Police say an arrest has been made in connection with their investigation into the suspicious death of a homeless man whose body was found over the weekend.

After the death, police originally picked up Mark Delude on a trespassing charge from April but now he is charged with obstructing justice as well. Further investigation could lead prosecutors to file more charges once forensic tests produce the results.

Monday morning construction crews ripped out the roots of a camp site where 40-year-old Forrest Bryant died Saturday morning. A fellow homeless camper Mark Delude is a person of interest.

"Delude was involved in an altercation with Bryant on the night he died. After Bryant was found, apparently deceased, several witnesses described Delude as attempting to prevent people from calling police and rescue personnel," said Burlington Police Chief Mike Schirling.

All of the homeless campers are required to be out by sundown Monday or see their belongings carted out. The order to leave came before Saturday's death, but the tragedy shortened the eviction timeline.

Renee Drew says the memories are enough to force her out.

"I laid in that tent crying because my friend was dead on a hill right in front of me and my other friend was the suspect," said Drew.

Drew says the camp is a last resort for its residents many of whom struggle with mental illness or broken homes. She downplays the role of alcohol and other drug addictions within the camp.

The 45-year-old says police and the city's street outreach team from the HowardCenter do everything they can to point them in the direction of services.

Drew: They've been really helpful

Reporter Kyle Midura: But how do you relocate when you don't have anywhere to relocate to?

Drew: That's the hard part.

"It's a war on the homeless," said Brian Warner.

Warner says he first pitched a tent six years ago and returned every summer since. He believes the residents’ removal is tied to the partying habits of some and a recurring crime problem. Warner blames his neighbors and police for the current situation.

"If you showed a presence down here once a week that stuff wouldn’t be happening and there's no need to kick nobody off this property," said Warner.

Prosecutors say Delude has a long rap sheet of misdemeanor charges. On Monday a judge set his bail at $1,000. Prosecutors filed the new charge to ensure that he didn't get out before the investigation is complete.

Police say they issued the eviction order after consulting the property owner. Some of the land may be city owned and another portion is designated as a hazardous waste site so it's unclear if residents could have stayed even if all parties agreed to the arrangement.

Related Stories:

BPD identify body found Saturday

Burlington Police investigating a suspicious death


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