GRAYSON — Detectives with the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department are investigating the shooting death of a Modesto man in Grayson.
According to authorities, a passer-by found the body of Ernie Aguayo, 32, on the side of Laird Road in rural Stanislaus County near Grayson at 1 a.m. Thursday.
Authorities say the witness was driving south on Laird Road from Grayson Road when he saw an object on the side of the road that he thought was a dead animal. The road is remote and there are no streetlights in the area.
As the passer-by got closer, he realized it was a person and called 911.
Deputies found Aguayo's body on the west side of the roadway. He had suffered a gunshot wound. The sheriff's Homicide Unit was called to the scene and took over the investigation.
Sgt. Keith Rakoncza said no further information would be released because the investigation is ongoing. Investigators said they have no suspects in custody.
Was he killed there?
Detectives have not said whether they believe Aguayo was killed where he was found or that he was shot elsewhere and his body dumped on Laird. The area is fairly remote, bordered on both sides by orchards.
Rakoncza said Aguayo was known to the department, which had repeated contact with him over the years.
Most recently, a check of public records shows, he had been in the court system in February 2012, when he was charged with battery on a peace officer, obstruction of justice and disorderly conduct. He pleaded no contest to the first charge and the remainder were dismissed.
Previously, he faced charges including driving under the influence of alcohol and auto theft.
This is the 13th homicide the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department has investigated this year. It asks anyone with information about the case to call Detective Darwin Hatfield at (209) 525-7100.
Senior Information and Research Specialist Karen Aiello contributed to this report.
Breaking News Editor Patty Guerra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2343. Follow her on Twitter @pattyguerra.