Homeless man found dead in Ballard parking lot
Byron Barnes, 47, was found dead in a Ballard parking lot at 1764 NW 56th St. on Jan. 20, according to WHEEL and Quest Church’s Bridge Care Center. He was homeless and is survived by one son, who is currently in jail.
The official cause of death is still pending, though people believe it may have been hypothermia. Alcohol was also involved.
Barnes was interviewed by the Ballard News-Tribune in November, when the newspaper reported on the death of his close friend, Don Farquharson, who passed away at Ballard Commons Park. At the time, Barnes had nothing but good things to say about his friend. Like Farquharson, Barnes was an Alaskan native.
A friend said that Barnes was at his place drinking the night before. The friend said he hadn’t realized Barnes passed away until he woke up in the morning.
Jill Vance of Bridge Care Center said she had gotten to know Barnes while providing services for him. In an email she wrote to her volunteers, she said that she knew Barnes struggled with alcoholism. Barnes said that he knew it was a problem, and so did his friends and family. In the end, he was unable to overcome it.
However, Vance said she didn’t want to focus on his faults; she said Barnes was a loving father and a caring person who took time to ask her about her day.
Still, his death did lead Vance to ponder how she and others could help people in similar situations.
In an email to her volunteers, she wrote:
“This death has left me wondering, ‘How can we do more? What other services can be offered to help people out of the hopelessness of alcoholism, before it’s too late? How does a community rise up to help those in need?’ As I presented these questions to (a friend), one of his answers was ‘Talk to them.’ He stated that sometimes homeless people just need someone to talk to that’s not in the same circumstance as themselves.’ ”
On Feb. 6, WHEEL’s Women in Black held a silent vigil outside the Seattle Justice Center for Barnes and another person, Kathryn Ann Blair, 60, who was found dead during the One Night Count, an annual census of those sleeping outdoors.
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