February 3, 2009 at 10:37 am

No signs frozen man was slain

Medical examiner finds no evidence of homicide in autopsy of victim found in abandoned building.

Redding )

DETROIT -- It does not appear that the man found last week frozen at the bottom of an elevator shaft was murdered, authorities said Monday.

"There is no preliminary indication of homicide," said Vanessa Denha-Garmo, a spokeswoman for the Wayne County Medical Examiner.

While the complete results of the autopsy of the man, Johnnie Redding, are not expected for days, an initial examination of his icy body showed he had not been shot, stabbed or the victim of blunt trauma.

Redding, 56, was discovered last week, frozen in a vault of ice in a warehouse next to the old Michigan Central Rail Depot, only his shoes and shins visible. Investigators surmise his body lay in the warehouse's flooded basement for more than a month. He was wearing work gloves and may have died while scrounging scrap metal, they said.

"I'm glad to hear it wasn't murder," said his brother Homer Redding of River Rouge.

A prominent musician has offered to pay for Johnnie Redding's funeral.

You can reach Charlie LeDuff at (313) 222-2071 or charlie@detnews.com">charlie@detnews.com.