Alaska Airlines pilot's death does not appear to be suspicious, early results show

Los Angeles County coroner’s officials say the death of a 55-year-old Alaska Airlines pilot found dead along the 5 Freeway in Burbank does not appear to be suspicious based on initial autopsy results.

The man, Lee Clifford Morris of Richland, Wash., was a 26-year veteran pilot for the airline. His body was discovered along the southbound Scott Road off-ramp Tuesday evening by a passerby.

Morris landed at Bob Hope Airport on Monday and was scheduled to fly out at 7 a.m. Tuesday, but when he didn't report to work, airline officials contacted the hotel where he was staying.

Due to the location of the body, authorities had said the death appeared suspicious. But there did not appear to be any external injuries and his wallet was still at the scene, police said.

Alaska Airlines described Morris as a “well-respected” pilot who was required to undergo physical exams twice a year. A spokesman said that as far as the airline was concerned, Morris was “in good health.”

It could be weeks before a final determination is made as the Los Angeles County coroner’s office completes a number of other tests, including neuropathology and toxicology exams, said Assistant Chief Ed Winter.

“If we don’t find anything obvious, those could take weeks,” he said. “We are still doing an autopsy; it’s premature for us to give any ruling on cause of death."

-- Alene Tchekmedyian and Jason Wells, Times Community News

Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek


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