Body, believed to be missing man, discovered behind Stanislaus County home

01/16/2014 7:23 PM

01/16/2014 8:32 PM

The investigation of a missing Modesto man led to the discovery of a body buried behind a rural home west of Modesto on Thursday.

The 56-year-old was reported missing on Christmas Day, said Modesto police spokeswoman Heather Graves. She did not know under what circumstances the man went missing or what led detectives to the body Thursday. Investigators believe the body is that of the missing man, whose identity is being withheld, but they are awaiting official identification from the Coroner’s Office.

The man was found in a shallow grave behind a home in the 1800 block of Broyles Road. Mario Beltran, 28, who lives at the home, was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail on suspicion of murder.

Graves would not say how the man was killed or what led investigators to Beltran’s home.

Several hours after the body was discovered, Modesto police searched a home in the 1600 block of Eureka Street in south Modesto that was associated with the missing person and homicide investigation, Graves said.

She would not release any other information about the investigation on Eureka, including whether anyone was arrested or any evidence was recovered. Officers were at the home for several hours; the police SWAT team and drug unit were on scene and the Sheriff’s Department’s robot was used.

At one point, a flashbang – a nonlethal explosive device meant to disorient people – was used, and several people in handcuffs were put into patrol cars and taken to the Modesto Police Department.

If you have any information regarding this incident, call Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward. Tipsters can text information to Crime Stoppers at 274637; type “TIP704” along with a message.

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