Body found in Vancouver recycling center identified

Craig A. Mays found among the refuse at the West Van Materials Recovery Center

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian Breaking News Reporter



The body of a Vancouver man was found among refuse at a recycling center in west Vancouver Wednesday night.

Police were called to the West Van Materials Recovery Center, 6601 N.W. Old Lower River Road, when workers found the body just after 8:30 p.m., according to police and dispatch records.

Investigators with the Vancouver Police Department said it appeared that the man’s body had been transported to the facility in a load of refuse. It was found on the sorting conveyor of one of the machines at the facility, according to Vancouver police.

Chris Thomas, district manager for the recycling company’s parent company, Waste Connections, said operations were stopped once the body was found.

They resumed after police left the recycling center about 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

Through a fingerprint examination, the body was identified as Craig A. Mays, 51. Investigators say there was no indication of foul play in his death. No suspects are being sough in connection with the death investigation.

The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy to try to discover how Mays died.

Vancouver Police Major Crimes Sgt. Troy Price said that the man’s body was mangled, but it is unclear whether he was injured before he arrived at the recycling center, or whether the injuries were inflicted by machines that press the recycled material.

“The machinery in that building isn’t made for people or anything living to go through,” he said.

Other circumstances surrounding the death, including where the body came from, are still under investigation.

The transfer station, one of three in the county, handles dozens of loads from businesses as well as homes.

“It’s difficult to say which truck brought him in,” Price said. “Unfortunately once (refuse) gets to the facility, it just gets mixed together.”

This isn’t the first time workers have found a body among the discarded recyclables at West Van Materials.

In March 2009, a man’s head and legs were found sticking out from a massive bin containing cardboard, paper, bottles and aluminum cans. After a police investigation and autopsy, the 51-year-old homeless man’s death was ruled an accident.