New Mexico man dead after a night out drinking in Safford

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Safford Police responded to a residence the morning of Aug. 22 and located a 22-year-old New Mexico man who had apparently choked and died after a night of drinking.

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – A New Mexico man tragically died on Aug. 22 after spending a night out drinking in Safford. 

According to a Safford Police report, Gilbert Benjamin, 22, of Animas, New Mexico, was found deceased in the early morning hours of Aug. 22 by occupants in the home he was staying. Paramedics who attempted life-saving maneuvers advised it appeared that Benjamin had aspirated and choked. 

Benjamin was staying at the home of his girlfriend’s aunt and had recently begun working in the area. One of the occupants of the home told officers that Benjamin had become upset after a phone conversation with family members in New Mexico. Benjamin left the residence and later posted a picture of himself drinking a bottle of Bombay Gin. 

The occupant advised that Benjamin returned home at about 10:30 p.m. and was very intoxicated and had to be helped to the couch. The occupant advised they stayed up watching over Benjamin until about 1 a.m. and remember hearing him snoring at about 3 a.m. 

When the residents awoke in the morning, however, they discovered Benjamin wasn’t breathing. First responders and EMS workers performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for about 30 minutes with no success, and Benjamin was pronounced deceased at 9:35 a.m. 

Benjamin was released to McDougal’s Caldwell Funeral Chapel & Gila Valley Crematory to hold until he was transported to Tucson for an autopsy by the Pima County Office of Medical Examiner. No official cause of death has yet to be listed.  

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