Heat may be to blame for sanitation worker's death - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Heat may be to blame for sanitation worker's death

(WMC-TV) - The extreme heat may be to blame for the death of a man who worked for the Memphis Sanitation Department for decades.

Family members are devastated by the death of 65-year-old Jerdean Johnson.  Johnson, a Memphis sanitation worker for more than 40 years, was found dead early Thursday morning inside his Park Avenue apartment.

Investigators said Johnson's death might be heat-related.

"When I got the call, I knew that's what it was," said Johnson's niece Lois Taylor.

Neighbors said they last saw Johnson around 4:00 a.m. Thursday outside his apartment with his shirt off.  When co-workers arrived to pick Johnson up for work, he did not answer the door.

The co-workers became worried and notified a maintenance worker, who reportedly had to kick open a window in Johnson's apartment to get it.  Johnson's body was discovered inside.

"We had been coming by every so often, but we wouldn't see him at home, especially since it started getting hot," said Johnson's niece, Lorena Jackson.

Jackson said her uncle did not have air conditioning and could not get electricity from MLGW because he did not have proper identification.

"We've been asking him if he wanted to come to our house, but he didn't want to come," said Jackson.  "He didn't have his utilities on and it hasn't been on since he's been living there for over a year."

MLGW said they have not had a customer on record living at the apartment since 2008, and the customer at the time was not Johnson.

The electric company also said, "Johnson applied for MLGW service in February of 2010 but did not have the proper identification to have services turned on."

Family members said Johnson was planning to retire soon.

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