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Homeless man found dead not far from Middlebury shelter

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury police believe alcohol played a significant role in the tragic death of a local homeless man found on the town green during the early morning of Saturday, Jan. 13.
Police identified the deceased as 45-year-old Suad Teocanin.
Middlebury Police Sgt. Michael Christopher said Teocanin had been living in the Middlebury area in recent years, working kitchen jobs at various restaurants. At the time of his death, he had been working at downtown Middlebury’s Two Brothers Tavern.
Teocanin had been a regular this year at the Charter House Coalition’s warming shelter off North Pleasant Street, according to coalition Executive Director Doug Sinclair. When Teocanin didn’t show up during the evening of Jan. 12, shelter officials became concerned and began searching for their frequent visitor and friend. That search culminated in the discovery of Teocanin’s body at around 5:30 a.m. off a path within the town green, according to Middlebury police.
Local authorities believe Teocanin succumbed to the cold as a result of “a high degree of intoxication,” according to an entry in the weekly Middlebury police log.
Sinclair and other shelter officials were very upset about Teocanin’s passing.
“The goal (of the shelter) is to prevent things like this from happening,” Sinclair said.
Adding to officials’ collective frustration was the fact that Teocanin perished less than 100 yards from the shelter, which looks over the town green. Unfortunately, the weather outside was rainy turning to snow, with poor visibility.
“It is unfathomable that this could happen, but it did, in spite of our best efforts,” Sinclair said.
Middlebury-area religious groups established the non-profit Charter House Coalition in 2005 to provide food and housing for people in need. The Congregational Church of Middlebury converted its Charter House into a warming shelter that can serve up to five families and 22 individuals at one time. The shelter — which accepts people regardless of their life circumstances —  has been full this winter. Shelter guests eat meals family style, which allows folks to get to know each other.
Sinclair recalled Teocanin as being very friendly and pleasant.
“He was gentle, kind and had a great smile,” Sinclair said. “You couldn’t not like him.”
Two Brothers Tavern officials were also floored by the news. They expressed their feelings in a touching post on the restaurant’s Facebook site. That post in part reads:
“We have lost one of our dearest friends and family members. We have lost one of the biggest hearts we have ever known… Suad was, and will forever be, one of the most amazing, kind, beautiful and selfless people that so many of us have ever known. His existence in all of our lives has made us better, stronger people. His love had no boundaries. And now, the void that he has left leaves us all hollow and devastated beyond words or comprehension. But deep down, somewhere hard to find tonight, we realize, as we always have, that each of us is so much richer and happier for having had Suad in our lives. He gave to us each a gift of friendship that we will take with us for the rest of our lives. This is a priceless gift… but it makes his passing that much harder to understand and accept… Thank you, Suad. In a crazy world, thank you for bringing joy to so many. The richness of a life should be measured in the love you bring to others, and in your case, there is no match … there is no match. You will live on forever in all of our hearts.”
Folks at Two Brothers made arrangements to host a non-secular community remembrance for Suad Teocanin on Saturday, Jan. 27, at 10:00 a.m. at the Congregational Church of Middlebury. Restaurant officials expressed a very special thank you to the Charter House Coalition and the Rev. Andy Nagy-Benson of the church for helping make this possible.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].
Editor’s note: This story was originally posted on Jan. 16.

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