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Florida journalist died in TV station parking lot

Colleagues walked by Gary Detman's car for hours, thinking he was just sleeping inside.

Colleagues walked by Gary Detman's car for hours, thinking he was just sleeping inside.

Gary Detman, the digital content manager at WPEC-TV in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Handout photo, courtesy WPEC-TV; Graphic by The Desk)
Gary Detman, the digital content manager at WPEC-TV in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Handout photo, courtesy WPEC-TV; Graphic by The Desk)

A digital journalist who suffered from a medical emergency last week was found dead in the parking lot of the TV station where he worked.

The confirmation comes less than two days after The Desk reported on the passing of Gary Detman, the 53-year-old digital manager who worked at West Palm Beach CBS affiliate WPEC (Channel 12) for several years.

Detman’s body was found inside his vehicle while it was parked in the station’s lot, according to a person who works at the station, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly on behalf of WPEC or its owner, Sinclair Broadcast Group.

The source said Detman’s body was in his vehicle “for several hours” before someone thought to check to see if he was okay. Workers who passed by Detman’s vehicle thought he was taking a nap inside. After some time, an employee tried to make contact with Detman, and when he did not respond to them, the police were called to the scene.

A station official sent a memo to workers at WPEC informing them of Detman’s passing last week. The note said police had blocked off a portion of the station’s parking lot until the medical examiner could be called to retrieve his body.

“Please leave quickly after the show or your shift is over,” said the memo, which was first reported by the website FTV Live. It went on to say that employees needed to show respect to Detman’s family, including his fiancée, Sandy Collier, who confirmed his death in a message posted to social media over the weekend.

“He made me happy, I made him happy, he made my kids happy, he made his friends happy,” Collier wrote. “I don’t understand why he was taken. My heart is in pieces.”

The precise cause of death has not been released. Memorial information was not available as of Monday evening.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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