There are more questions than answers about the hanging death of 34-year-old Randy Dudley, whose body was discovered hanging from a tree at a Bernal Height park Tuesday morning, but authorities have made a preliminary ruling that it was a suicide.

Mission District resident Randy Dudley had just moved back to SF in December, after stints in LA and New York where he’d served as an intern on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and had studied on scholarships at both the New York Film Institute and Parsons School of Design. And on Thursday, the HIV-positive Dudley was set to begin another internship at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. But that promising future has been brought to a tragic halt, as Mission Local reports Dudley was found dead hanging from a tree early Tuesday morning. He was 34.

When a Black man is found hanged, there are obviously going to be worries that this was a brutal hate crime, particularly after a separate Mission Local report that a Black man had found a racist doll and death threats on his porch last week. But while Mission Local confirmed with SFPD sources that the hanging victim was Dudley, the SFPD itself said that there is “no evidence of foul play suspected at this time,” and the preliminary ruling of his death is a suicide.  

Dudley was discovered by a jogger Tuesday morning near the Esmeralda stairs and slide near Bernal Heights Park, and officers responded just after 7 am. His housemate Michael Rouppet told Mission Local that the jogger “said he went out for a run at 6:30, saw someone behind a tree — didn’t think too much about it.” But Rouppet added, “when he came back 30 minutes later, the person was still there. But then he realized the person was not alive.”

The SF Medical Examiner’s Office has not yet confirmed the death as a suicide, though that has been SFPD’s preliminary ruling. Mission Local was in contact with his sister Chanell Dudley, and that site reports “she was inclined to believe the preliminary ruling.”

If you have any information regarding this, you’re asked to call the SFPD Tip Line at 415-575-4444, or text a tip to TIP411 and begin the message with “SFPD.” Tipsters can remain anonymous.

If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call or text "988" any time day or night to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, or chat online.

Related: Former SF AIDS Foundation Employee Brutally Murdered in New York City [SFist]

Image: Camille B via Yelp