Woman, victim of apparent homicide, found dead in west Modesto carport

kvaline@modbee.comJuly 21, 2013 

    alternate text Kevin Valine
    Title: Reporter
    Coverage areas: City of Modesto and nonprofits
    Bio: Kevin Valine has been a copy editor and reporter at The Bee since January 2006. He's worked at the Reno Gazette-Journal, Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune and Paradise Post as a reporter and copy editor. He's a graduate of San Jose State.
    Recent stories written by Kevin
    E-mail: kvaline@modbee.com

— The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department said a woman was found dead early Sunday in a carport in a west Modesto neighborhood.

Someone walking home from work about 6:30 a.m. spotted the body and called authorities.

Sheriff's Sgt. Keith Rakoncza said investigators have not identified the woman and are not releasing the cause of death in the homicide. He said the woman could be a transient, and an autopsy could be performed as early as today.

The body was in a carport in the 500 block of Briggs Avenue, west of North Martin Luther King Drive and north of Paradise Road.

David Bisson said he and his family were sleeping when officers knocked on the door of their home on Briggs. He said officers led him to his carport, where he discovered a woman's body face down on the concrete in a pool of blood.

Bisson said the woman appeared to be a Latina in her late 30s to 40s. She was of medium height and build and was wearing a black and white shirt, denim skirt and canvas sneakers. Her hair was brown or possibly reddish brown.

Bisson said he did not know the woman.

"I thought, 'This is messed up,' " said Bisson, who has lived in his home for about six years.

Bisson's home is next to a dirt alley that runs between Briggs and California avenues. He said it is frequented by homeless people and drug addicts. He said the alley is not safe after dark.

Based on a swath of dried blood in the alley and an intermittent trail of blood drops, Bisson said it appears the woman was stabbed there and then staggered about 75 feet to his carport.

Bisson said no one inside the house suspected anything. He said his roommate heard what sounded like a bang during the night and checked on his motorcycle in the carport but did not see anything suspicious.

Bisson added that the family's dog, Tootsie, a Chihuahua mix, barked and paced anxiously about 6 a.m. in the front yard until being let back into the house.

Rakoncza would not confirm Bisson's account. But he said the residents of the home where the body was found were cooperating and did not know about the body until alerted by authorities.

Rakoncza did not know Sunday how many homicides have occurred this year in the Sheriff's Department's jurisdiction. But a search of Bee archives suggests that this is the sixth.

Modesto officers were the first to arrive but handed the call over to sheriff's deputies because the crime occurred in the Sheriff's Department's jurisdiction.

Anyone with information about this homicide can call Detective David Hickman at (209) 525-7042. You can leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636.

Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at kvaline@modbee.com or (209) 578-2316.

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