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Man found dead in Kelowna was from Cranbrook

Jennifer Smith/Kelowna Capital News

He was a father and reputedly a hard worker. Originally from Cranbrook, he is also being described as a pretty tough 32-year-old man, according to friends posting on his Facebook memorial page.

But something happened to Christopher Ausman in the early hours of Saturday that RCMP cannot explain, as yet.

A police officer found the young man's deceased body in a pool of his own blood on a Rutland sidewalk, and yet his death is not officially being called a murder.

"We want to gather as much information as possible. The circumstances certainly are suspicious and once we can provide a label such as homicide, or not, then we'll go to that next step," said Const. Kris Clark, Kelowna RCMP spokesman, in a press conference held outside the detachment Monday morning.

"...We are left with very few other circumstances, yes," Clark admitted, but he would go no further.

Ausman's lifeless body was spotted in the 100 block of Highway 33 near to where it intersects with Rutland Road at 2:06 a.m. by an officer who was just driving through the area. The stretch houses the Cadillac Lounge strip club, the Olympia Greek Taverna Restaurant, a jewellery store and a vacant storefront. Just up the street is a 7-Eleven convenience store and gas station.

Police have done interviews and received tips from several members of the public and there are video surveillance tapes from the surrounding businesses.

Ausman's personal Facebook account shows a man with near 900 friends and a life that included a young daughter. He is originally from Cranbrook.

The memorial page set up by friends and family continues to collect photos, videos and comments.

"Well, I sure as hell hope someone in the world today had triplet baby boys to try and make up for the loss of this great man! We're gonna need at least three hearts to balance the huge heart that Chris had," wrote Trevor Wicheruk.

"The other side must be having one hell of a good time now that the life of the party has arrived," wrote Jayna Colins.

Police will not comment on whether a weapon was found in the vicinity.

A dog team was called in immediately and officers could be seen combing over the scene all day Saturday.

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