Two men were found bound and shot to death early Saturday along a winding stretch of road near Stanislaus County’s western edge after firefighters responded to a call for medical help.
The Patterson Fire Department received the call for help about 6:50
a.m. in the area of Del Puerto Canyon, just west of Patterson.
The firefighters called for sheriff’s deputies after arriving at the scene and finding both men dead along the side of the road, said sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Anthony Bejaran.
The victims were described as Latino men, but investigators had not identified them. Bejaran said an autopsy is scheduled for Monday.
Investigators were tight-lipped Saturday afternoon about the nature of the crime. Bejaran said the slayings did not appear to be a random act of violence.
“The level of sophistication is more than that of a heat-of-the-moment homicide or a crime of opportunity,” Bejaran said about the deaths.
When asked what the men were bound with or how they were bound, Bejaran declined to comment. He said the men were found along the rural road about 10
miles west of Interstate 5.
A resident who lives in the area called firefighters for help, but Bejaran said it’s unclear whether the resident was driving through the area or was at home when the call was made. He said detectives have spoken with the resident and he is not considered a suspect.
Sheriff’s detectives have taken over the investigation, and the department did not release any further information about the case.
Bejaran said the detectives will work through the weekend to determine the motive and what circumstances might have led to the victims’ deaths.
The narrow, two-lane Del Puerto Canyon Road was closed to traffic while investigators searched for evidence at the scene. The road reopened about 1 p.m.
Sheriff’s investigators ask anyone with information about these deaths to call Detective Cory Brown at (209) 567-4485 or Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636. Tipsters also can e-mail tips through the Crime Stoppers Web site, www.stancrimetips.org, or text tips to CRIMES (274637) by typing “Tip704” plus a message. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a reward.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2394.