Scott DeGraff died from carbon monoxide poisoning and asphyxiation, Pitkin County Deputy Coroner Eric Hansen determined after an autopsy Friday.
The estimated time of death was between 3 and 5 a.m. on Thursday and the manner was suicide, a press release form the coroner’s office says. The death took place “within minutes,” according to the release.
Local police and firefighters found DeGraff’s body in a car in the garage of a residence in east Aspen at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day.
A carbon monoxide alarm in the upstairs portion of the home went off around 5:30 a.m. that morning, sending Aspen firefighters to the scene. However, after being unable to gain entry into the house and seeing no signs of activity, the firefighters left. An owner of the home called authorities later that morning after being informed of the carbon monoxide alert by the alarm company. The owner was already on scene when police and firefighters showed up around 8 a.m. to find DeGraff, 47, in a car in the garage.
DeGraff, a restaurateur, opened Junk/Liquid Sky in Snowmass Base Village in December 2008. He had previously built a successful business opening and operating restaurants and nightclubs in Chicago and Las Vegas. DeGraff at one point was set to open a restaurant called Junk at the Red Onion in the historic watering hole, but his lease was terminated before an extensive renovation to the building was completed. He also lost the Snowmass space after being evicted due to nonpayment of rent.
DeGraff had come out on the losing end of a number of judgments related to his business dealings in the last year.
His wife owns the Junk restaurant at the corner of Mill Street and Hyman Avenue in downtown Aspen.
DeGraff is also survived by his two school-aged children.