An autopsy conducted Tuesday morning on the Sloansville man found dead in his parked car over the weekend leaves the cause of his death a mystery.
On Saturday, Mark Trendell, 35, was out with friends. According to Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond, the group was snowmobiling among other things.
“They were out and about,” he said.
That evening, instead of driving the half dozen miles back to his own Sloansville home, Trendell asked one of his friends, a Schoharie village resident, if he could just park his car in his driveway and sleep there for the night.
“I don’t know what happened,” Desmond said. “Maybe he was just tired. It was just time to go to bed.”
Trendell’s friend invited him to sleep in the house, but he opted for a night in his car.
Phone records have Trendell making a call at 9:30 that night, but nothing after that. Just before noon Sunday, the driveway owner found Trendell dead, seated in a still running vehicle.
When deputies arrived, they reported Trendell had been dead for some time, but could find no obvious cause of death.
There were no bruises or obvious injuries on his body — nothing to suggest foul play. Desmond said the man was in pretty good health with no record of pre-existing conditions.
Though it was a cold night, the car was running with the heat on, which ruled out hypothermia.
With no clues Sunday, investigators hoped an autopsy might shed some light on what led to Trendell’s death.
“They did an autopsy this morning,” said Desmond, “but we still don’t know what happened.”
Physicians at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady, he said, could not find a problem with the mechanics of Trendell’s vital organs. There weren’t, for example, physical blockages in any of the arteries surrounding the heart, or anything that might have caused a heart attack or other common causes of sudden death.
“Now we’re waiting on toxicology,” Desmond said.
Chemical analysis of Trendell’s blood will show if any alcohol or drug usage was involved, or if carbon monoxide from the running car could have leached into the cab through the night.
Toxicology reports though, could take weeks.