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Death of Lajitas Employee Ruled an Accident

(Google Maps)

This post has been updated to reflect new details and a correction. 

Last Wednesday morning (May 21), Lajitas Golf Resort employee Mark Davis was found dead in his employee housing unit.

We have confirmed with both the Brewster County Sheriff's Department and the resort's General Manager Ruffin Moore that the cause of death is being ruled an accident.

Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson tells KRTS that a preliminary autopsy was performed by a medical examiner with a sheriff's deputy on hand.

According to Dodson, evidence and testimony gathered at the scene combined with the results of the autopsy suggested there had been no foul played involved in Davis' death. The finalized results of the autopsy and a toxicology report are still pending, but the investigation into the death is now closed.

Sheriff's authorities visited the resort on Monday to inform Moore of the determined cause of death and to return Davis' belongings.

The 42-year-old graduate of Texas State University attended high school in San Marcos as well. He had been employed at the resort for about a year, before which he had spent time around the world - traveling to and living everywhere from Amsterdam, Holland and the Grand Canyon to Yellowstone National Park, Colorado and Big Bend National Park.

Davis was found dead Wednesday morning after he failed to show up for work for the second morning in a row. He had left the resort's employee recreation center late Monday night/early Tuesday morning (May 19-20), and failed to show up for work Tuesday morning. When he failed to show again Wednesday morning, an employee from the resort's Human Resources Department went to check in on him at his residence.

According to Moore, that employee opened the door to Davis' residence, saw blood, and called the sheriff's department.

Dodson says Davis and a neighbor had been drinking and were walking home when Davis collapsed on a sidewalk. The neighbor helped him up and the two proceeded to walk back to Davis' apartment, but went to the wrong residence by mistake.

According to Dodson, the two eventually made their way back to Davis' apartment. The neighbor suggested Davis call for help, but Davis insisted he would be fine for the night.

Dodson says Davis' cell phone and some other personal items were found at the first house the two tried to enter, and that if Davis had been able to call Terlingua medics for help he likely would have survived his injuries from the fall.

The preliminary autopsy showed Davis' skull wasn't broken, but he had suffered a cut when he fell.

"He just couldn't stop the bleeding," Dodson says.

Moore says he did not immediately make a public announcement about the death, preferring instead to let authorities conclude their investigation before issuing his own statement.

Davis was born in Saigon, Vietnam and graduated from San Marcos High School in 1990. At the resort he started off as a dishwasher and eventually moved to laundry duties. Moore describes him as "a friendly guy" who was relatively quiet, but would soon open up when the conversation turned to music.

"He was a good co-worker," he says, "he was well-liked among those that hung out with him."

Employees and staff at the resort held a memorial for Davis yesterday afternoon. The resort is currently raising money to send to Davis' family in San Marcos.

Travis Bubenik is All Things Considered Host and Big Bend Reporter at Marfa Public Radio.