Autopsy set for transient man found dead in Modesto canal

12/11/2012 8:41 AM

12/11/2012 9:56 PM

An autopsy will be conducted today on a 47-year-old man who was found dead in a west Modesto canal Tuesday morning.

At 7:40 a.m., a passer-by was walking on the canal bank that runs along Chicago Avenue just east of Carpenter Road when they saw the body just beneath the bridge at Vernon Avenue, according to Deputy Royjindar Singh of the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department. The man was identified Vernon France, described as a local transient.

The passer-by who found France immediately called 911.

Deputies, a fire crew and ambulance responded, and determined the person was dead.

The area was cordoned off, and detectives arrived on scene.

The body remained in the canal for a few hours before a dive team was brought in to retrieve it.

Though there was a small amount of water in the canal, there was more in a canal depression below the bridge where the body was discovered, requiring the use of the dive team, Singh said.

Several neighbors just south of the discovery on Vernon said they didn't hear anything out of the ordinary Monday night or Tuesday morning. Deputies were seen talking to neighbors looking for more information.

Singh said it's too early in the investigation to determine the cause of death or how the body got there.

Anyone with information can leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636, emailing at, or texting tips to CRIMES (274637) by typing "Tip704" plus a message and be eligible for a reward.

Body discovered in Modesto canal.

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