Body found in Patterson canal could be missing Mantecan

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If you come across a body, here's what you should do.

Manteca police and the San Joaquin County Coroner’s Office are working to confirm that the body pulled Monday from the Delta Mendota Canal near Patterson is that of a Manteca man reported missing by his wife the night of Jan. 2.

A vehicle belonging to Chhinderpal Singh, 64, was found abandoned the next morning near the Delta Mendota Canal in rural Tracy. The body was spotted Monday in the canal just south of Marshall Road, just east of Ward Avenue.

Manteca police Lt. Stephen Schluer said his department will not say the deceased is or is not Singh until the coroner makes a positive identification. He said the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department passed the case to Manteca police because there are no other reports of missing Indian males.

The initial news release when Singh was reported missing said circumstances surrounding his disappearance were suspicious. The coroner will determine manner of death, Schluer said, but the case no longer is considered suspicious. There were no signs of struggle or foul play in or around Singh’s vehicle.

Schluer also said there were no obvious signs of trauma to the body found Monday.

When Singh’s vehicle was found Jan. 3, an extensive search was conducted of about 15 to 20 miles of the canal and its banks and surrounding areas, the lieutenant said. It involved divers, the Manteca police drone unit and a California Highway Patrol helicopter.

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Deke has been an editor and reporter with The Modesto Bee since 1995. He currently does breaking-news, education and human-interest reporting. A Beyer High grad, he studied geology and journalism at UC Davis and CSU Sacramento.