Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles. Photo by JuanCarlos Chan/LA Dept. of Recreation & Parks.

Man Found Dead at Echo Park Lake, Marking Third Local Death Since June

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Scott Murphy, a 30-year-old unhoused man, died this morning at Echo Park Lake. He is at least the third person to be found dead at the lake, also the site of a large homeless encampment, since June.

According to the Los Angeles County medical examiner-coroner’s office, Murphy was pronounced dead this morning at 9:15 a.m. near Glendale Boulevard and Park Avenue. An examination of the cause of death is pending.

On Aug. 9, 18-year-old Oceanside resident Brianna Moore died in a tent near the lake. According to her family, the coroner’s office attributed the teen’s death to an overdose of cocaine laced with fentanyl. Her family told KGTV that she came to L.A. to work as an activist in recent protests and was due back on Aug. 11 for her orientation at Cal State San Marcos.

“She started off with a good crowd that wanted to help people, and over time, she just met the wrong people,” said Jill Moore, her older sister.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is sometimes mixed with recreational drugs like cocaine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 31,000 deaths linked to synthetic opioids occurred in 2018, 865 of which took place in California.

On June 16, 51-year-old Andrew Kettle was chatting outside his tent with a friend when, according to KCRW, he became pale and began sweating profusely. His friend called 911, but Kent died later that day. The coroner’s office lists Kettle’s cause of death as pending an investigation.

According to KCRW, more than 600 unhoused individuals had died in L.A. County by July. Kettle was described by friends as a musician and animal lover who used alcohol to self-medicate after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

In L.A. County, unhoused people are dying in record numbers. In 2019, KHN looked at data from the coroner’s office to determine that deaths among the unhoused population jumped 76% in the previous five years. Experts said the increase may be due to substance abuse and the growing number of “chronically homeless” people, some of whom suffer from physical and mental health issues.

Los Angeleno