Apparent drowning investigated
The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department on Sunday afternoon investigated a senior citizen’s apparent drowning in an irrigation canal west of Ceres.
At about 12:30 p.m., law enforcement and medical responders were dispatched to the canal off South Carpenter Road and just north of West Whitmore Avenue on a report an elderly man either fell or jumped in.
The man was pulled from the canal by his brother and a volunteer firefighter who arrived at the scene, Sgt. Jose Perez said. There was nothing at the scene that immediately indicated the presumed drowning was accidental vs. intentional, the sergeant said.
The victim’s brother was southbound on South Carpenter late Sunday morning when he saw what looked like his brother’s Toyota Tacoma pickup parked on the east side of the road at an orchard, Perez said. He continued south to do some errands, but saw the truck still there about 30 minutes later when returning north on Crows Landing.
The man realized the truck was indeed his brother’s, so got out and walked into the orchard to find him, Perez said. He then walked over to the canal on the south edge of the orchard, and there saw the victim’s body in the water.
The victim’s children and other family members quickly arrived at the canal. A son said he did not wish to speak to The Bee at the time, and an in-law said she believed the victim was in his early 70s.
Until the department’s Crime Scene Investigation Unit arrived and put up a screen, the victim’s body lay beneath a white sheet behind a canal gate just yards from South Carpenter. He was wearing long pants and work boots.
Deputies looked in the orchard, around the Tacoma and along the canal bank for footprints and any evidence that could indicate foul play, Perez said. The CSI Unit also would examine the man’s body for any signs of trauma that suggest foul play, he said.
We’ll have more information as it’s available.