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Cause of death of man found in SF mall last year undetermined

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Frank Galcia, 28, was found dead in a stairwell of the Westfield Centre last year. (Ryan McNulty/2016 Special to S.F. Examiner)

The San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Office was unable to determine the cause of death of a man whose body was found in a downtown mall’s stairwell nearly a year ago, according to autopsy report details that have yet to be made public until now.

Frank Galicia, 28, was found lying with his legs upright with a rope around his head in a little-used staircase of the Westfield Centre at 865 Market St. on Aug. 10, 2016. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The cause of his death is undetermined, but the evidence at the scene seems to indicate another person
was there.

“He appeared to have been dragged for some distance (suggesting other [sic] person involved), but it is unclear how he came to be positioned with his mouth in the rope,” the medical examiner’s report reads. “The cause of death is unknown and the manner of death is best categorized as undetermined.”

The San Francisco Police Department’s Homicide Unit has been heading up the investigation, which was called suspicious soon after he was discovered.

Police did not return a call for comment on the status of their investigation.

A chef at Son’s and Daughter’s near Union Square, Galicia was last seen by his girlfriend the day before he was found dead. Ariel Mittag-Degala had been dating him for three weeks when he disappeared.

“He was nowhere to be found,” she told the San Francisco Examiner last year of his disappearance.

According to the medical examiner’s report, Galicia was found by a building engineer lying on the floor with his legs leading up the stairs. He had a rope, which had been tied to a rail, around his head. The rope was in his mouth.

His pants and underwear were pulled down and he had a number of blunt force wounds on his body.
Galicia had alcohol and methamphetamine in his system, but the report noted that neither substance were at levels high enough to cause death.

The report, released in late February, also relayed information from the building’s security, which indicated there was free access into that stairwell.

The door had apparently been compromised, the mall’s security director said, according to the report. That made it easy for people to come into the evacuation stairwell, which had no security cameras but did have hourly patrols when staff were available.

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