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Man found dead in alley identified


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Roswell police have identified the man whose body was found in the alley Wednesday morning as 26-year-old Matthew L. Van Note.

Courtesy Photo
Seth Van Note, left, with his brother, Matthew Van Note, who was found dead in an alley Wednesday morning.

Police said an autopsy was performed in Albuquerque Thursday by the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator to determine the cause of death. Roswell Police Department investigators are awaiting the findings to be included in the final autopsy report.
The victim’s younger brother, Seth Van Note, was unfamiliar with the alley between Shartelle Avenue and Garden Avenue where Matthew Van Note was found. He said his brother has struggled with alcoholism since his early teenage years.
“He’s been a brat for a while. Since his first car probably. So, probably around — I’d hate to sound ugly — but anywhere from 16 to 18, that’s when he started drinking,” Seth Van Note said. “Now of course it changed him a little bit, but he’s definitely had a certain dependency on it.
“Alcohol was his biggest problem. He had two previous heroin overdoses prior to his death, but alcohol was somewhat of an issue for him.”
While family members presume Matthew Van Note overdosed on heroin, Seth Van Note said there were no signs of abuse for the drug.
RPD spokesperson Todd Wildermuth said in a news release that investigators used fingerprints to identify Matthew Van Note. There is no specific timetable as to when the autopsy report will be issued.
“This is an ongoing investigation into what is classified as a suspicious death,” Wildermuth said. “It is classified as such since the cause of death has not yet been determined.”
Seth Van Note said his brother had received medical help with his alcohol problem previously.
“He’s been in assistance programs before. There’s an alcohol rehab program in Albuquerque that he went to once,” Seth Van Note said. “He admitted himself into there once and they gladly took him in. But once he came out, he didn’t stay sober for too long.”
If Seth Van Note had a message for others to take from his brother’s loss, it’s to continue staying close to one’s family.
“He had his own moments where he excluded himself from family,” Seth Van Note said. “We’re a tight-knit family, and some of us kids — it makes them nervous.
“I think sometimes we were such a close-knit family that, I don’t know if it oppressed or suppressed the kid — I don’t know. I just know that Matthew did have his times where he didn’t want to do family time anymore.”
Matthew Van Note and his brother worked with their father at Do-Right Roofing.
“We (all) worked together,” Seth Van Note said. “To come home from work with your family and then go to a family dinner — it can be stressful.
“If he stuck closer to his family, I think he would’ve been safer than wherever he was at.”
Seth Van Note said his brother tried to get further help within the last three or four months.
“I don’t think he had insurance, but he tried to submit himself twice to the hospital, and they rejected him,” he said. “That was shortly before he died.”
Similar to if Matthew were to remain close to his family, with the proper medical assistance, his death might have been avoided.
“They would ask you certain questions like, ‘Do you think you’re going to kill yourself?’ Seth Van said. “Of course Matthew told them ‘no’ both times. So they denied his request to be admitted.”
According to New Mexico court records, Matthew Van Note had a history with law enforcement. That includes an attempted robbery at a Roswell Allsup’s with a black Sharpie in 2012, two convictions of battery upon a peace officer in 2014 and aggravated driving while under the influence of liquor or drugs in 2015.
Seth Van Note said even though he has lost family before, it isn’t any easier.
“I think I’ve been strong enough for a while because again, we have such a large family,” he said. “I started making all of his funeral arrangements, and I started doing all the first things in regard to his death, but made me stronger? Probably not. We’ve lost plenty of people, but that’s my first sibling to die.”
Seth Van Note said his older brother will be missing “one heck of a good fishing trip.”
“He loved to fish,” Seth Van Note said. “Matthew was known for fishing, too. Our family’s going, I think on the 20th of next month, and he was real excited for that.
“He was a good person, but — you see a lot people in this city that suffer from addiction, but I’m not a doctor, so I don’t know.”
Seth Van Note said his brother was rebellious, but was also kind-hearted. The last time he spoke to him was Father’s Day.
”We were on the couch together, he sat by me all night that night,” he said. “We were hanging out with her niece, Emily, again with our family, and he was playing with Emily, and no matter where he went, he just came and sat back next to me on the couch.
“He had his struggles of course, but he tried anytime he struggled, and he picked himself back up, but this last time? I don’t know. Suspicious, as it is.”
Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.