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Police: Homeless Concord man showed no signs of blunt trauma before death

Mark Lufkin, seen with his sister Christy Lecuyer, died Saturday. (Courtesy photo)

Mark Lufkin, seen with his sister Christy Lecuyer, died Saturday. (Courtesy photo)

The Concord homeless man whose death is under investigation showed no visible signs of blunt trauma when paramedics found him unconscious early last Friday morning, according to the police.

Officials offered a more detailed picture of Mark Lufkin’s state yesterday after rumors circulated that he died Saturday from injuries sustained in a violent beating at the homeless camp beneath the Interstate 393 overpass. Those rumors, including one that Lufkin was hit in the head with a two-by-four, quickly led to concerns voiced by Lufkin’s family that he was murdered.

While the Concord police haven’t ruled out wrongdoing, Lt. Timothy O’Malley said paramedics responding to a 911 call noted only minor nicks and cuts on 39-year-old Lufkin.

“There were no indications visible on him that would have led them to believe he had been recently beaten,” O’Malley said. “It doesn’t mean he wasn’t. It just means there was nothing they saw that would indicate that at that time. They had no real explanation for his condition.”

He said the case is not being treated as a homicide.

“If we were to develop information that this was a homicide (the New Hampshire attorney general’s office) would certainly be involved,” O’Malley said, adding that the office has been briefed on Lufkin’s death but is not active in the investigation.

Lufkin was taken to Concord Hospital at about 12:05 a.m. April 5 after the police and fire departments responded to a 911 call from 154 N. Main St., known as the Vegas building, O’Malley said. O’Malley said paramedics did not respond to the homeless camp beneath the interstate, and that the police don’t know whether Lufkin had been there earlier that evening and was then taken to the Vegas building.

A few hours later, Lufkin was taken to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon. Doctors there told the police at about 10 a.m. that they believed Lufkin was suffering from a traumatic brain injury, O’Malley said.

The police don’t know what caused that injury, and theories gathered from those who were with Lufkin in the days before he was taken to the hospital range from accidental to malicious, he said.

An autopsy has been conducted, but the results aren’t being released. O’Malley wouldn’t comment on whether Lufkin was intoxicated when taken to the hospital.

Lufkin’s parents, Delwyn and Linda Lufkin, responded to the police’s release yesterday with anger and skepticism, saying they are sure their son was attacked and think the police are not being forthcoming. The parents, who live in Florida and returned there after Tuesday’s memorial service, believe he was attacked while defending a homeless woman who had been sexually assaulted.

“We don’t know exactly what happened, but we know for sure something more happened than just someone falling down,” the father said.

Amanda Nash, a family friend who was with Lufkin in the hospital, said she did see signs that he had been assaulted, including a large cigarette burn on one of his hands and cuts on his knuckles.

Delwyn Lufkin said he has given the police the names of several people who he heard witnessed the incident. But he said that over the several days he was in Concord he did not personally talk to anyone with firsthand knowledge.

“The only thing I’ve gotten is hearsay,” he said. “But I’ve got names of people that were there, (and) I told them.”

“The police need to break them down or do something to get something out of them,” he added.

Delwyn Lufkin said his family – who seemed to put aside their grief in the days after Lufkin’s death as members of Concord’s homeless community shared touching stories about his life here – are now wrought with concerns that the investigation will stall.

“I don’t want this case to grow cold. I’m not going to let it,” he said. “I will call them until they tell me not to call anymore or hang up on me.”

O’Malley responded yesterday by saying the investigation is active. He said detectives have spoken to several of Lufkin’s acquaintances and are trying to put together a time line of where he was in the days before he was taken to the hospital in hopes it will show how he sustained the brain injury.

“We still have some unfilled voids,” O’Malley said.

As he has before, O’Malley stressed that anyone with firsthand knowledge about the case should contact the police.

“It’s important to us that if Mr. Lufkin was assaulted that we find out who did this and bring them to justice,” he said. “It’s equally important if it’s an accident, we would like to be able to tell the family.”

(Tricia L. Nadolny can be reached at 369-3306 or
tnadolny@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @tricia_nadolny.)

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