Dallas County Epidemiologist Dies

June 24, 2004

DALLAS — The chief epidemiologist for Dallas County was found dead in his office Thursday afternoon in what is being investigated as a natural death, a spokesman for the Dallas County Sheriff's Department said.

Dr. Assefa Tulu, 45, was found about 5 p.m. by a colleague at the county Department of Health and Human Services offices, said Sgt. Don Peritz, a sheriff's spokesman.

Tulu was last seen talking on the telephone at his desk around noon Thursday. He failed to appear at a staff meeting at 1:30 p.m., and was not seen throughout the afternoon, said Zachary Thompson, director of the department.

"At 5 p.m., another epidemiologist went into his office and found him, fallen face down by his chair," he told The Dallas Morning News for its Friday editions. "You could not see his body from the door, so anyone who looked in during the afternoon would not have known he was there."

An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death, officials said.

Tulu joined the department in 1997, serving for the next five years as the county's lone epidemiologist. He had received his medical degree from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia in 1984 and earned a doctorate in epidemiology at the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London.

Copyright 2004, The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP Online news report may not be published, broadcast or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.


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