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Sheriff’s officials release new details into the hanging death of Malcolm Harsch

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  • Sheriff’s dispatch received a 911 call from a female saying her boyfriend hanged himself.
  • Sheriff’s Department personnel at the scene, including the coroner investigator, did not recover any evidence to suggest foul play.
  • Although there remains no sign of foul play, the forensic pathologist is waiting for toxicology results before assigning the cause and manner of death.  

VICTORVILLE, Calif. (VVNG.com) — San Bernardino County Sheriff’s officials released new information and said they are continuing their investigation into the death of 38-year-old Malcolm Harsch after he was found hanging from a tree.

According to a news release, on May 31st at 7:07 a.m., sheriff’s dispatch received a 911 call from a female saying her boyfriend hanged himself.

Deputies from the Victorville Police Department and medical aid responded to the vacant lot, which is a dirt field between Circle Drive and Victor Drive.

According to the release, the caller said she and her boyfriend, later identified as Malcolm Harsch, had been together during the morning, but she had since returned to her tent for a short period of time.

“She was alerted by others in the encampment that Mr. Harsch was found hanging from a tree and cut down. People in the encampment were performing CPR, attempting to revive Mr. Harsch,” stated the release.

Sheriff’s officials said when deputies arrived they immediately took over and continued CPR.

Emergency medical personnel arrived a short time later and despite additional lifesaving efforts, pronounced Mr. Harsch deceased. Sheriff’s officials said a coroner investigator responded to assist with the investigation.

“A thorough investigation was conducted at the scene to recover any evidence to assist with the investigation. Sheriff’s Department personnel at the scene, including the coroner investigator, did not recover any evidence to suggest foul play,” stated the release.

Detectives from the Victorville Police Department are continuing to investigate the death and have interviewed several people who were at or near the location at the time of the incident, officials said.

On May 31st, a coroner investigator attempted to contact the next of kin for Mr. Harsch; however, was unable to reach them. The following day, June 1st, a coroner investigator spoke to the legal next of kin, the wife of Mr. Harsch, informing her of his death.
 
Sherrif’s officials said on Friday, June 12th, an autopsy was conducted. “Although there remains no sign of foul play, the forensic pathologist is waiting for toxicology results before assigning the cause and manner of death.”  

A man by the name of Paulie Almaraz commented on the Victor Valley News Facebook page and said she hesitated about speaking out, however, he felt it was necessary to end the speculation that it was a lynching.

Paulie said the incident happened right next to her church building. “We pulled him off, his body was still warm and I did CPR on him for 15 minutes until police and fire arrived,” stated Paulie.

Victorville City Spokeswoman Sue Jones said when Victorville City Fire crews arrived, they observed CPR being performed by bystanders.  

“Our Fire Personnel took over and initiated advanced life support care protocol in an effort to restore a heartbeat.  After 20 minutes, their resuscitation efforts were discontinued, which is in accordance with established protocols,” stated Jones.

Jones said the City would be watching closely to see the results of the Sheriff’s Department investigation. “When the investigation is complete, results of the investigation will be made public,” stated Jones.

Victorville mayor Gloria Garcia issued the following statement:

We take very seriously the concerns voiced by so many who fear that Malcolm’s death could be racially motivated, a hate crime, or a form of retaliation. As City Leaders, we share these concerns; and a thorough investigation is being conducted. Malcolm Harsch’s life matters to our City.

– Gloria Garcia, Mayor, City of Victorville

Sheriff John McMahon said he has been in contact with the California Department of Justice – Attorney General’s Division of Law Enforcement and is working in cooperation with them as the investigation continues.

The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information is asked to contact the Victorville Station at (760)241-2911. Callers can remain anonymous and contact WeTip at 800-78CRIME or www.wetip.com

(Facebook)
Malcolm Harsch
Malcom’s body was found near this homeless encampment. (Gabriel D. Espinoza, VVNG.com)

Related Article: Sheriff’s Department says foul play not suspected after Black man found hanging in tree near Victorville City Library

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