Man found dead near Burnside Lake had drugs in his system
A Gardnerville resident who was found dead after attempting to walk back to Highway 88 from the area of Burnside Lake in November had marijuana and methamphetamine in his system at the time of his death, according to the Alpine County Sheriff’s Office.
A report by El Dorado Pathology found Roderick Paul Clifton, 44, died of hypothermia due to prolonged environmental exposure, according to the Sheriff’s Office. A toxicology report showed methamphetamine and THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, were in Clifton’s blood and urine at the time of his death.
Clifton and his girlfriend, Paula Lane, 46, were reported missing after they left Citrus Heights, Calif., on the afternoon of Nov. 29.
Five days later, Lane was found along Burnside Lake Road by her brother, who took a frontloader from a nearby state transportation shed and drove up the road. Alpine County Undersheriff Rob Levy said at the time the brother was convinced the couple had gone to Burnside Lake, where they’d camped before.
Levy said the couple spent the night in their vehicle Nov. 29, and on the morning of Nov. 30, as a major storm was rolling into the Sierra, Clifton tried to walk down to Highway 88, about six miles away.
Lane told responders she found Clifton’s body while making her way down the road. Searchers from El Dorado and Alpine counties rode snowmobiles up the road and found the body about one mile north of Burnside Lake.