An investigation is underway after a homeless man died during bitter cold temperatures in Trenton.
The body of 40-year-old Jose Velez was discovered in a makeshift shelter behind a boarded up vacant home Monday morning on Whittaker Avenue about a mile away from the Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter in Trenton.
Police have not yet determined a cause of death and continue to investigate. Temperatures were extremely cold overnight into Monday morning with wind chills in the single digits. Residents told NBC10 they regularly saw Velez camped out in the same makeshift shelter where he was found dead.
“I always used to see him there,” said Cynthia Orellana. “Always doing nothing. Just holding his two arms together like it’s really cold.”
Sources told the Trentonian that Velez sought shelter at the Rescue Mission Sunday night but was denied. Mary Gay Abbott-Young, the CEO of the Rescue Mission, told NBC10 none of her records show that Velez ever tried to seek shelter there however.
“Had he come by, maybe we could have helped him,” she said. “I don’t know.”
Abbott-Young said more than 200 people sought warmth in the shelter Tuesday night.
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Officials continue to investigate Velez's death.