Man found dead in gas station bathroom at Aspen Village ID’d by coroner

Armando Zanudio, 29, of Rifle was found unresponsive after deputy broke down door

Jason Auslander The Aspen Times
rifle citizen telegram graphic

An autopsy performed on a 29-year-old man found dead in an Aspen Village gas station bathroom Wednesday evening did not discover a cause of death, a Pitkin County coroner said Thursday.

The man was identified as Armando Zanudio of Rifle, who was on his way home with his father when he stopped to use the bathroom, said Eric Hansen, assistant coroner. Zanudio’s father had been waiting at the gas station for his son to return from the bathroom, he said. 

No paraphernalia or indication of drug use was found in the bathroom, Hansen said.

“There was no evidence of any drug use at all,” he said. “It’s just a real tragedy.”

The autopsy, performed in Denver, found no apparent cause of death, and coroners will now wait three to four weeks for a toxicology screen and further analysis to try to determine the reason Zanudio died, Hansen said.

Zanudio had been in the bathroom 15 to 20 minutes, and there was no evidence that anyone else entered the room while he was inside, Hansen said.

Pitkin County detectives have no reason to believe Zanudio was killed and don’t think there’s any safety concern to the community, said Alex Burchetta, director of operations for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office. Zanudio entered the bathroom alone, Burchetta said. 

Emergency dispatchers received a call at 5:41 p.m. Wednesday about an unresponsive man who’d been in the bathroom for 20-to-30 minutes, Burchetta, said.

A deputy who drove out to the gas station was unable to get a response from the man and, with the manager’s consent, broke down the door and found the man unconscious on the floor, he said.

The deputy attempted resuscitation efforts, but was unsuccessful, Burchetta said.

The gas station — known as the Woody Creek Station — remained closed Thursday morning as deputies continued to preserve the scene for investigation, Burchetta said.

Editor’s note: The initial report had Armando Zanudio’s age as 28; it was updated by the coroner’s office to 29. 

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