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Homeless Man Found Dead in Memorial Park

Police: man likely froze to death.

A homeless man was found dead in Nyack's Memorial Park on Christmas Eve, Orangetown Police said.

The man was spotted on the stone steps near the playground by a resident walking his dog on the morning of Monday, Dec. 24.

The resident—believing the man was asleep—left the park to purchase him a jacket and breakfast. Upon returning, the resident discovered the man was dead.

Police could not confirm the cause of death as of Friday morning, but believe the man may have froze to death. "There were no signs of assault," said Sgt. George Garrett.

Authorities identified the man as Orlando Florez, a 46-year-old man who called the streets of Nyack home.

Garrett said Florez was a familiar face to Orangetown Police, and was often drinking—the man may have passed out the night before due to alcohol, police said.

Florez has no next of kin to contact, Garrett said.

Larry December 28, 2012 at 04:55 PM
So sad we can't or don't reach out to each other when we see someone in need. Good idea Mike, count me in, I don't have much but will be happy to throw in what I can afford.
Joan K December 28, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Just curious, why did it take four days to report on this?
Kevin Zawacki (Editor) December 28, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Police said they are continuing efforts to track down any family Mr. Florez may have.
North Broadway December 28, 2012 at 06:10 PM
I only know one homeless man that "roams" the streets of Nyack so i fear the worst. I kind gentle man who never begs and keeps to himself. I walked by him almost daily. On occasion i bought him a cigar or a sandwich, 2 or 3 times a year. Unlike the "normal" people in our town he was one of the few who would say hello when we had eye contact. Whether i gave him something or not. Rest in peace my friend. Sorry i couldn't do more.
Patricia Ackerman December 28, 2012 at 06:13 PM
This is tragic and not an isolated case. We live near the park and men collapse there and in surrounding yards regularly passed out drunk. Ambulances and police come at great expense to the village and the men are on the streets again with nowhere to go. The police respond by saying "they should go back to their own country." This is unacceptable. There must be a way that engaged village citizens can help the mayor secure shelter for them now - or there will be more men in this situation this winter.
Tyler Durden December 28, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Rest peacefully Mr. Florez.
DLS December 28, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Down at the park, there are several men that spend the night or at least the better part of the later hours of the evening & early mornings sleeping in the park (by the stairs, sometimes behind the bushes). They make this their home on a regular basis. They don't bother anybody (yet). However, if you anybody doesn't want this to continue, then you better go down to the meetings and make your wishes known. Otherwise, stop by and leave a blanket or two and some hot soup when it's cold out!
Richard Lugrezia December 28, 2012 at 07:28 PM
I agree with Patricia, this is not an isolated tragedy. The SDA Church at the corner of Hudson and Broadway gives a hot lunch and groceries to many of Nyacks homeless every Tuesday. The village citizens must help the mayor to secure a shelter, especially during the winter months.
Someone who cares December 28, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Generosity goes a long way. Helping others is being a good Christian,it is what we are suppose to do. Can someone, please explain, why we as Christians turn our backs when someone asks for help?9
PATTYANN O'LOUGHLIN December 28, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Where is the shelter in your area? how can we start a shelter for these people. We must stand together and Help each other out! This is what Americans do!! UNITED WE STAND,, DIVIDED WE FALL.. PLEASE COMMENT ON THIS SUBJECT,, THANK YOU !!!!!!!!!
INTHEKNOW December 28, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Yes, lets build a shelter, so that Nyack becomes a magnet for even more homeless, and other communities have a place to dump their homeless, If you build it, they will come, buy the scores.
INTHEKNOW December 28, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Start a shelter??!! Ok.. how about next to your home? Shelters are usually empty, as except in the romanticized version of homelessness that many want to pretend exist, most of the homeless are either severely mentally ill, or heavy drug abusers, or both.
Kevin Zawacki (Editor) December 28, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Hi all, an update: a funeral for Mr. Florez will be held Saturday in Piermont. Details here: http://nyack.patch.com/articles/funeral-set-for-homeless-nyack-man
Michael Zaretsky December 28, 2012 at 10:23 PM
There was a Homeless Shelter/residence here in VC which has changed hands many times do to lack of adequate funding. Once again the newest agency has shut down and abandoned this building.
Lynn December 28, 2012 at 10:48 PM
In lieu of a shelter, a new volunteer effort has been started to sew sleeping bags for those who are homeless: need volunteers with sewing machines and donated fabric. Also a space to work. Write Listentomebook@aol.com if interested
E. Curtin December 28, 2012 at 11:20 PM
I know the man you write about. Believe his name is Claude. I too speak to him, help him out from time to time. He is very tall, distinguished, dark skinned, smokes cigars, walks and walks (I call him "The Walking Man"), don't believe he drinks. I don't think he is the man found in the park. Hope not. My heart goes out to man in park.
Dash December 29, 2012 at 01:08 AM
This individual could be seen in Nyack bouncing around on the sidewalk for years. I have seen numerous police contacts with Mr. Florez. He's been drunk for years. Don't put your agenda on an addict. It won't work. Very often addiction doesn't want help. Don't fool yourselves. There is plenty of help, if you want it.
Dash December 29, 2012 at 01:10 AM
How do you know he wanted a shelter? How do you know he needed a shelter? What if he got really, really drunk and wandered down to the park.
Scotty December 29, 2012 at 03:58 AM
Something is wrong....I see my little dog asleep on the couch...warm..breathing so contently...knowing her owner is watching TV a few feet away...little paws moving ever so slightly...must be dreaming about playing with a ball...small little whimpers..not a care in the world.....something is wrong when a man freezes to death ( whether or not he actually died of that is irrelevant) and a dog is better off in this society...and in this time of year...something is definitely wrong with this picture.
Toni December 29, 2012 at 05:15 AM
Sad
Toni December 29, 2012 at 05:17 AM
This man has a son and he was homeless, that is sad. Especially around the holidays and bitter cold, this should not have happened.
bill of rights December 29, 2012 at 07:20 AM
Your short memories, an nypd officer bought a homeless man boots, a week later he was barefoot again. Some of these people don't care to live. Maybe he believed in heaven. Boa voyage.
E. Curtin December 29, 2012 at 06:49 PM
And let us say thanks to the man who found Orlando and went to buy him a jacket and breakfast.
Larry December 29, 2012 at 09:54 PM
To Dash: "Don't put your agenda on an addict. It won't work." That's really how you feel? What do you suggest, we just let them all freeze to death and look the other way. In most cases, people suffering from mental illness or addiction don't even realize they need help, it's not so much that they don't want it. What it if was one of your loved ones assuming you know what "loved ones" means! Merry Christmas to you and I hope you're not one of the people that loses their direction and finds themselves homeless someday. Maybe learning about what causes so many more people to lose their way today and having some compassion for these sick & lost human beings would be a good New Years resolution for you to aspire to this year. Try to remember that these people are all someones sons or daughters.
James Adnaraf December 29, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Homelessness exists, but it has not gotten much attention since Reagan-Bush 41 were in the Presidency. Very unfortunate.
john simon December 30, 2012 at 04:00 AM
W) With the economy the way it is its only going to get worse with homelessness;hopelessness and more people commuting suicide because of the way things are
elizabeth December 31, 2012 at 12:46 PM
It turns out, this poor man, had a son and daughter in law. He also rented a room, and was not homeless. We need to stop encouraging illigal immigration from Mexico and Central America. We are not doing these people any favors by hiring them off the books, for jobs that do not pay enough to support them in a decent manner. Then they get stuck here, without their wives and families. They get depressed, drunk, cold, etc. The bleeding hearts need to understand, we are not doing these poor people any favors, only saving the contractors lots of money, by not having to pay minum wage.
BR Cannon December 31, 2012 at 01:09 PM
If this poor man died because he drank to much then there should be an investigation by the Orangetown Police Department into who sold him the liquor and they should be held fully accountable for his death.
Clarkstown life December 31, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Really???????????? To accomplish what, may I ask?
E. Curtin January 08, 2013 at 05:48 AM
Can't find my last post on this site, but we all need to think about the circumstances of this man's last hours or minutes. Freezing to death in Memorial Park on Christmas Eve, surrounded by warm and seemingly welcome houses strung with sparkling Christmas lights, decorated trees displayed in their windows, the smell of fireplace woodsmoke filling the air. All symbols of "A HOME." To be or even to feel homeless on that night must have been a very sad ending to a relatively young life. I hope this man has gone home. If he had a drink before he died, I would not blame him, but don't know if he did and no one seems to know. If he did, maybe it gave him a sense of warmth and/or made him feel connected to the homes surrounding him on that night or perhaps a past home. No one should judge him. God bless his soul.

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