Haight artist finds dead body in his apartment

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After a two-week vacation, a resident of The City’s Haight-Ashbury district came home Monday to a ransacked apartment and a dead body lying on his bedroom floor.

Dennis Oliver, an artist living on the 1900 block of Page Street, discovered the body about 1:40 a.m. Monday after returning home from two weeks in Humboldt County, San Francisco police Sgt. Steve Mannina said.

While the San Francisco Chief Medical Examiner’s Office has not yet identified the body, Oliver has told police it could be his cat sitter.

Police said it was dark when Oliver entered his Page Street flat and stumbled over the body. Oliver, who could not be reached for comment, didn’t know what he had found until he smelled a strong odor. He told police the body had a bag over its head.

The case has not officially been ruled a homicide, but San Francisco Police Department homicide detectives are conducting an investigation.

“It’s truly a suspicious death at this point,” Mannina said. “The place was found ransacked.”

Law enforcement officials have remained tight-lipped, and details of the Page Street case are scant. Mannina said detectives were “not willing to share details of the deceased person” other than that it was a white man.

Mannina said it’s unclear whether Oliver’s apartment was broken into or if anything was stolen. Oliver’s building, which has three apartment flats, was roped off with police tape and officers guarded the front doors well into the afternoon.

After the hours-long investigation, homicide detectives sealed off Oliver’s apartment with a ChiefMedical Examiner’s Office sticker. Oliver was not allowed back inside.

A neighbor, Bruce Wolfe, was rattled when he took his dog for a walk to escape the police activity.

“This is a very quiet neighborhood. There has never been any activity like this,” said Wolfe, who has lived in the building for 14 years. “It happened right below me. There was nothing eventful that I had heard of. It’s very concerning to me.”

A neighbor down the street, Chancey Tilston, also said his neighborhood is safe, save for the rampant drug use.

“Sometimes people are on things. There are a lot of drugs in the neighborhood,” he said. But, “nobody ever hassles you.”

The City’s Animal Control and Care took Oliver’s cat into custody, and as of Monday afternoon it was still there waiting to be picked up.

arocha@examiner.com

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