Police investigating CMC student's death

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The Routt County Coroner's Office is awaiting autopsy and toxicology reports on the 24-year-old Colorado Mountain College student who died this weekend from unknown causes.

Joseph Michael Osborne was found dead in a Steamboat Springs home Saturday afternoon when acquaintances could not wake him.

Steamboat Springs police Captain Joel Rae said the Jefferson County Coroner was expected to do an autopsy Monday afternoon. Toxicology reports could take a week or longer to come back, Rae said.

Osborne did not have a prior medical history of a serious or deadly condition, Rae said.

Police are investigating what role alcohol may have played in Osborne's death, Rae said. The police investigation has revealed that Osborne had been drinking the night before his death at a bar in the 700 block of Lincoln Avenue. He was playing pool with two men he met that night, Rae said.

The men offered him a place to spend the night because of his level of intoxication, Rae said. Five men took a taxi from the bar to a residence in the 500 block of Harm's Court.

The group arrived at the residence between about 2 and 2:30 a.m., Rae said. At the home, Rae said, the other men helped Osborne into a bed.

The only man in the group who knew Osborne well left the residence at about 4 a.m.

At about 11:30 a.m., the two men who lived in the residence went into the bedroom to check on Osborne. Finding Osborne unconscious and not breathing, the men called police. Emergency personnel who responded to the scene pronounced him dead. Osborne had died a number of hours before police arrived, Rae said.

Police think the death is an accident, and foul play is not suspected, Rae said. He noted that at this point in the investigation there is not any indication that criminal charges are warranted.

Osborne had moved to Steamboat Springs in 2000 and was attending CMC. He has family in California and Ohio and a driver's license from Washington.

Law enforcement officers have noted an increase in the number of college-aged drinking incidents in recent months. Rae said after Saturday's incident, police officials visited with officials from CMC.

"I think one of the things for us to look at is what larger institutions and what larger police departments are doing," Rae said.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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