Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Denver: Cyanide mystery deepens - the almond smell gave it away.

From The Ottawa Sun:

The mystery deepens in the case of an Ottawa man found dead in an upscale Denver hotel room — a pound of highly toxic sodium cyanide in a jar beside him. More than a week ago, Saleman Abdirahman Dirie, 29, told his Somalian family out of the blue that he was leaving to vacation in Denver.

On Monday, he was found in a fourth-floor room at the ritzy Burnsley Hotel about four blocks from the Colorado state Capitol. He had been dead for several days.

Yesterday in Ottawa, a quiet west end family was struggling to understand what happened.

They said it’s a mystery to them and wondered how the large-framed, quiet, good, smart boy ended up where he did.

The Dirie family came to Ottawa as refugees in the early 1990s and first stayed at a shelter. Since then they have become Canadian citizens. The family once lived in Lowertown before moving to the Bayshore area. Dirie’s father died about two years ago of complications from diabetes.

Yesterday, a neighbour said Dirie was a good man who didn’t say much.

“No issues with the police or with neighbours. He was quiet,” said Jone Shakka, 49, a professional dancer with the Ottawa 67’s hockey club.

He smiled when he described Dirie’s frame as similar to the character Fat Albert.

A female family member said Dirie was smart and had attended university before dropping out because of diabetes and mental health concerns.

She said he kept to himself since leaving school. He spent most of his days reading inside his mother’s townhome.

“He was a very good boy,” said a family member, while Dirie’s mother sat a few feet away surrounded by friends and family. A neighbour said Dirie’s mother found out Tuesday of the untimely death of her son, one of three boys.

Time will tell what the real story is. Maybe.