South Portland police have identified the man who died when his tent caught fire near Interstate 295 early this month.

Rodney Jewell, 48, was found dead April 3 in the burned remains of a tent in a wooded area about 100 feet from the highway near Exit 4 in South Portland. He was identified as a transient with no known address, and had been sleeping at the encampment.

Police said a DNA comparison with a family member was used to confirm his identity. Jewell’s family has been notified, police said. The state Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Jewell’s death accidental and the result of carbon monoxide intoxication from breathing smoke and soot.

Detective Scott Corbett said a local agency that works with the homeless helped make a preliminary identification, which led police to family members in northern Maine. A male relative provided a DNA sample, which was used to compare to Jewell’s DNA, confirming his identity.


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