Crime

Burying pet in backyard, Modesto resident finds human remains

A resident of a home on Santa Rita Avenue just south of Yosemite Boulevard in Modesto found human remains buried in the backyard on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the case as a possible homicide.
A resident of a home on Santa Rita Avenue just south of Yosemite Boulevard in Modesto found human remains buried in the backyard on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the case as a possible homicide. jfarrow@modbee.com

A Modesto resident burying a pet that recently died discovered human remains in the home’s backyard Saturday afternoon, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department reported.

Detectives are investigating the find, on the 100 block of Santa Rita Avenue off Yosemite Boulevard east of downtown, as a possible homicide.

Deputies responded to the call just before 3 p.m. and worked throughout the evening to exhume the decomposing body, the Sheriff’s Department said in a news release. It’s a long, delicate process so as not to alter the body or damage evidence, department spokesman Sgty. Tom Letras said by phone Sunday afternoon.

Detectives have not yet been able to identify the victim, who appears to be an adult, Letras said. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause and manner of death. Identification may come down to DNA, Letras said.

The property, just off Yosemite, reportedly has a main home in front and a smaller residence in the rear. A renter in the main home since November 2017 said Sunday morning that he knows nothing about the remains.

Letras said that based on decomposition, the body likely had been buried a matter of months, not years.

Anyone with information regarding the case is urged to contact Detective Cory Brown at 209-567-4485.

Anonymous tips may be made by calling Stanislaus Area Crime Stoppers at 209-521-4636. Tipsters can also email tips at www.modestopolice.com/CrimeStoppers, or text them to CRIMES (274637) by typing “Tip704,” plus the message, and be eligible for a cash reward.

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