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Injured man, 60, identified

| Friday, Feb. 10, 2006

A man who has been hospitalized since being found with head injuries in Hazelwood over the weekend was identified by his roommate on Thursday.

Donald Zankel, 60, who was found shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday in an alley near his home in the 4800 block of Second Avenue, remained in critical condition and on a ventilator last night in Mercy Hospital, Uptown.

Pittsburgh police said Zankel suffered head injuries when he apparently fell down steps.

"The police came into the hospital shortly after 6 p.m. (yesterday) with someone who made positive identification," hospital spokeswoman Linda Ross said.

Hospital social workers had been trying to identify Zankel, who was awake but combative when he arrived in the emergency room. He did not provide any information about his identity and has since lapsed into unconsciousness.

Ross said it was the first time in at least 14 years that hospital officials could not identify a patient. Some previous patients were identified only by fingerprints, she said.

City police said detectives were called yesterday by hospital personnel.

Detectives attempted without success to identify Zankel through fingerprints and missing persons files. Hospital officials also notified the media, which began broadcasting descriptions of the man.

Some detectives and uniformed officers who were going door to door in Hazelwood yesterday afternoon found Zankel's home and roommate.

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