Police: Decomposing body found near Highway 99 in west Modesto

05/17/2014 11:02 AM

05/17/2014 10:13 PM

Modesto police discovered a decomposing body near a Highway 99 offramp Saturday morning after neighbors called to complain about the smell.

“It’s been there for a little bit,” said police Sgt. Ivan Valencia. Because of decomposition, Valencia said it’s hard to tell when the person died, but he estimated the death occurred “maybe a week” ago.

“Based on decomposition,” he said, “we couldn’t tell the age or the race.”

Last week’s record heat – 93 on Tuesday, 95 Wednesday and 96 Thursday – accelerated decomposition and complicates the investigation.

“We can’t tell if it is foul play,” Valencia said. “We’re going to depend on the coroner’s office to find cause of death and ID.”

Closer examination of the body might lead to an identifying tattoo, he said.

The body was found at 8:32 a.m. on the bank northwest of the Tuolumne Boulevard exit off Highway 99 in west Modesto. The body was in an open field on the bank, he said.

“There wasn’t much we could tell at the scene,” Valencia said.

An autopsy has been scheduled for Monday. Valencia speculated that the victim could very well be a homeless person, but it was hard to tell because of the damage done even to the clothes by body fluids. The area is frequented by homeless people, and bodies have been discovered within a half-mile of the area, he said.

Editor's Choice Videos

Join the Discussion

The Modesto Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service