Local expat found dead in El Centro apartment

Mar 7, 2019

Cuenca resident Michel Blanchard was found dead in his historic district apartment Tuesday night, according to police who responded to a call from a neighbor who reported seeing his lifeless body through a window.

Michel Blanchard, left, with Cuenca Symphony Orchestra conductor Michael Meissner.

Police said a preliminary investigation indicated no signs of violence at Blanchard’s Calle Santa Teresita at Calle Larga apartment and would await an autopsy before making a determination of the cause of death. Death occurred at least two days prior to the discovery of the body, investigators said.

A graduate of the Parsons School of Design in New York City, Blanchard moved to Cuenca in 2009 following a career as a fashion model and designer. As an international fashion model in the 1990s, Blanchard represented such brands as Giorgio Armani, Hugo Boss, and Calvin Klein, appearing frequently on billboards and in magazine ads, often modeling underwear.

In addition to modeling, Blanchard worked as a fashion stylist and interior designer for Palm Springs Life, in California.

In Cuenca, Blanchard continued his work as an interior designer as well as a personal fitness trainer and certified nutritionist. From 2012 to 2015, he co-hosted an internet-based expat radio show “Ecuador at Your Service” with co-host Ashley Rogers.

Blanchard also worked to promote art and cultural events and was a writer for several websites, including CuencaHighLife.

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