Dead Man Had 1 Pound of Cyanide

A Canadian man was in possession of 1 pound of sodium cyanide when he died at a high-end Denver hotel, the Denver Post reported today (see GSN, Aug. 13).

Police have confirmed the substance found Monday near the body of 29-year-old Saleman Abdirahman Dirie to be cyanide, but authorities have not said why he had the deadly poison.

]"A pound of (cyanide) salts mixed with acids could make a significant amount of gas and could affect hundreds of people," said Robert Emery at the Health Science Center of the University of Texas at Houston.

The incident appeared to have no connection to the Democratic presidential convention to be held in the city, Denver police spokesman John White said, adding that no indications of criminal activity have emerged.

"I can't speak to evidence," White said.

The Ottawa Sun yesterday identified Dirie as a naturalized Canadian citizen who came from Somalia in the 1990s.  Dirie left Ottawa three weeks ago to transport family members to Toronto in a rental car; he told relatives about one week ago he would travel to Denver for a vacation, the newspaper reported.

Dirie was known to suffer from mental troubles as well as diabetes and other heath problems.  He left college before graduating and his employment status was unknown as of yesterday, the Post said (Cardona/Bunch, Denver Post, Aug. 14).

August 14, 2008
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A Canadian man was in possession of 1 pound of sodium cyanide when he died at a high-end Denver hotel, the Denver Post reported today (see GSN, Aug. 13).