Exclusive: Man who found Cody Denney speaks out

Multnomah County

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — January 25 started like any other work day for James Bland but as he made his morning commute down Southeast 92nd, everything changed. 

Bland noticed a figure lying face down on the ground near 92nd and Rural. 

He pulled over, got out of his car and turned the figure over to find a man who had been badly beaten. The man was also missing a shoe, his phone and his wallet. 

Bland called 9-1-1. 

“His face was all puffy,” Bland told KOIN 6 News in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. “He was bruised up pretty good. His eye was really swollen. He looked like he really needed some help.” 

The man Bland stumbled upon was later identified ad 25-year-old Cody Denney. Denney had been at a friend’s house the night before, on Jan. 24, and started to make his way home — on foot — around 1 a.m. 

Bland found Denney around 8 a.m. 1.5 miles away — but in the opposite direction of his house. 

And the young man was struggling to cling to life. 

“He was still with us but he was fighting,” Bland said. 

Weeks of life support

Denney was hospitalized and placed on life support. His mother — Toni Burton — said her son had been left with his face in a puddle and had been without oxygen for hours

Burton said MRI’s showed he’d had multiple strokes. Doctors later pronounced him brain dead. 

For six weeks, Burton held out hope that Denney would open his eyes. But that dream ended March 8 when her son passed away after a week in hospice care.  

‘Not one seemed to care’

Burton said Denney was left alone on the busy sidewalk for hours. And while help did come for Denney, it simply didn’t come soon enough. 

James Bland found Cody Denney lying face down on a SE Portland sidewalk in January. (KOIN)

“I thank him from the bottom of my heart,” Burton said of Bland. “That someone took the time to pull over.” 

For the man who took that time to pull over and get out of his car, the experience is a tragic one. 

“It’s sad, it’s sad — so many people drive by here. Thousands of people and not one seemed to care,” said Bland. 

 With all of those passing drivers, Bland said he hoped someone else may have witnessed something — anything — that leads to justice in Denney’s death. 

“I just hope that somebody will be responsible for this; somebody will say something,” he said. 

Authorities have released few details about the case but said it is an ongoing investigation. 

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