Coroner: Disabled Man Trapped by Fallen Tree Killed Himself

A disabled man who was injured when a windblown tree crushed his trailer killed himself as he lay trapped in the wreckage on Christmas Day, authorities said.

The injuries that Richard Payne suffered when the tree fell early Sunday were not life-threatening, Island County Coroner Robert Bishop said Monday. The cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Bishop said.

However, it did not appear that Payne had any means of summoning help, sheriff's spokesman Jan Smith said in a statement. There was no phone in the trailer and no nearby neighbors in the remote wooded area at the south end of Camano Island.

A visitor found the body Sunday afternoon.

No suicide note was found, Bishop said.

Payne, 52, was on disability and had been living in the trailer on family property for about a year, the coroner said.

The area was struck by a storm early on Christmas Day, with wind damage cutting power for 20,000 Puget Sound Energy customers between Bellingham and Olympia.