The burnt body of a homeless man found in Paso Robles

January 27, 2021


Paso Robles police found the burnt body of a homeless man at his campsite in the Salinas riverbed on Tuesday afternoon.

Anthony Suarez had lived in a tent just behind JC Penny on the riverbank for years . Friends suspect the Army veteran was trying to stay warm when his tent caught fire.

“He was well liked,” said Kaleb Bussey, a man who had also camped along the riverbed. “He was a kind guy who brought others food and water.”

An investigation into the death is ongoing.

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As a 35 yr service connected veteran, I’ve had my bouts with the VA…As clumsy, overburdened, and fraught with red tape as they are, some tragic events as this have nothing to do with programs and assistance (federal or local) that’s avail or not… Tatro is correct, distressed vets (as with nonvets) are sometimes just too sick to think rationally. I don’t say that lightly, but obviously something was wrong. Perhaps family and friends tried to get him some help, perhaps he had nobody. But in the past decade or two, it seems we’re being led to believe that its somehow better (or less trouble) to let people go to the bathroom on the streets, shoot up, steal without any ability to correct the situation. How many years and thru how many elections have we heard “we need to do something”and yet they just keep making it easier. Instead of spending ridiculous amounts of money on pet projects (high speed rail anyone?) for our Sacramento pin heads, why not at least try to legally get them off the streets, or out of the river, and keep them in a facility with medical and psychiatric care for 60-90 days. Maybe some them can move on to more in-depth treatment, some can possibly dry out and leave clean, and some just might get themselves turned around. Some won’t and I know it doesnt sound realistic, kinda like a pipe dream (politics, red tape and legal fights would kill it) but I’ve been around long enough to see it ain’t getting any better. We can’t and never will be able to completely solve this issue, people are complex, their struggles unique…but maybe its a good time to try.

Cmonnow, I have a very close family member with substance abuse problems that has chosen to live on the street and another close friend who was an Iraqi war vet and took his life because he was struggling with PTSD. Your post is touching and thoughtful. I think what you suggest is an excellent idea. How wonderful it would be for the people who could get help and turn their lives around. It’s unfortunate that practical laws and decision making don’t seem to be very popular these days.

We allocate all kinds of money to help veterans. Why was nothing done to helped this man, especially since he had lived in the same place for years? This is inexcusable.

They have to want and accept the help.