(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- A Nashville restaurateur,who was found dead in a walk-in refrigerator, died of suffocation from carbon dioxide inside. He was likely overcome by the gas in a matter of minutes, the Nashville medical examiner ruled Tuesday.
Jay Luther, 47, was found dead Monday morning in the cooler of the Germantown East Cafe. Luther, who was co-owner of the cafe, pressed a burglar alarm in the cooler that called police to the scene.
There were no signs of foul play, police said.
The restaurant had been closed for the weekend because of a planned power outage. Dry ice -- frozen carbon dioxide -- had been used to keep food cool for the weekend, police said. When Luther went to check on the food Sunday night, he became trapped. The internal latch had been malfunctioning before the weekend, police said.
The restaurateur didn't have his cellphone, but he tripped the burglar alarm in the cooler, hoping officers would come to free him. Officers arrived within five minutes of the call, but did not investigate after "they found the building to be dark and all doors secure."
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