08/13/07 — Heart, not heat, killed 47-year-old

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Heart, not heat, killed 47-year-old

By Lee Williams
Published in News on August 13, 2007 1:45 PM

A heart disorder -- and not the heat -- is what officials say caused the death of a Wayne County man who died in his yard Wednesday afternoon.

Barry Hal Scott, 47, was found dead outside of a home in the 200 block of Westbrook Avenue where he lived with a retired couple.

Scott had just installed the family's air conditioning unit at around 3 p.m. He went outside to seal the unit with foam, but he never returned.

A family friend, Renee Ellis, found him in the yard at around 5:30 p.m. Mrs. Ellis, who had taken Scott in, suspected he slipped and hit his head or that the 101-degree temperatures caused him to die from a heat-related illness.

Wayne County sheriff's officials also suspected heat played a role in his death, but sent his body to the State Medical Examiner's Office in Chapel Hill for an autopsy to determine an exact cause.

State pathologists ruled Friday that a heat-related illness did not cause Scott's death, Wayne County Sheriff's Capt. Tom Effler said.

"With the heat, that's what everyone suspected, but according to the medical examiner, he had a heart disease," Effler said. "That caused his death and not the heat."