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Worker finds man's body in Monessen

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Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, 12:36 a.m.

A Monessen man found dead Wednesday in a vacant house was not a victim of foul play, according to police and the Westmoreland County Coroner's office.

The body of Roderick Taft Jones Jr., 39, was discovered at 10:49 a.m. at the bottom of stairs at 649 S. 14th St.

A Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services employee who was at the house to change locks found Jones, Monessen police Chief John Mandarino said.

The house was most recently rented by a person who now lives in Greensburg and was an acquaintance of Jones, Manderino said. The chief said Jones likely had been “squatting” at the house. Jones' last known address was 212 Rostraver St., Monessen, police said.

Westmoreland County Deputy Coroner Josh Zappone said it appears Jones had been dead “at least a couple days,” based on moderate body decomposition.

Pittsburgh forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht performed an autopsy on Jones on Wednesday but did not release a cause of death, pending toxicology results, Zappone said.

“There was no evidence of traumatic injuries or trauma,” Zappone said. “If he did fall down the steps, that's not what killed him.”

In October 2012, Jones pleaded guilty in Westmoreland County Court to loitering and prowling at night and served 133 days in prison, according to court documents. Charges of criminal trespass and criminal attempt – burglary were dismissed.

Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 724-684-2635.

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