CHULA VISTA — A 21-year-old Chula Vista man who had been missing since last Sunday was found dead Saturday, hanged from a tree next to Interstate 805 in Chula Vista.
The nude body of Jeffrey Scott Hanson was found hanging from a rope tied around the neck in a canyon near I-805 at California 54 about 12:40 p.m. Saturday, according to Chula Vista Police Sgt. Alan Smith.
Hanson was recently hired to replace a striking worker at Nelson & Sloan Concrete and Materials Co. in Chula Vista, Smith said.
"He was crossing the picket lines. His roommates said he took off at noon Sunday and, when he did not return, they searched for him Sunday night," Smith said.
Hanson was reported missing to police on Monday when he did not report to work.
"We are treating this as a homicide until we get the coroner's report," Smith said. "There might be foul play."
A group of relatives and friends searching on foot found Hanson's body in a canyon 200 feet west of the ramp leading from westbound Highway 54 to southbound I-805, San Diego County coroner's deputies said.
Police said the group had been searching all week, sometimes accompanied by Hanson's dog, and police had searched by helicopter Tuesday afternoon.
The body was hanging from a tree that is visible from the freeway, but brushy growth concealed it, Deputy Coroner Chuck Bolton said.
A hemp rope was used and it was tied in a knot, not a noose, he said.
Bolton said the body had probably been in the canyon nearly a week.
The "mode and cause" of death had not been established Saturday night, he said.
"We are not calling it a suicide at this point," Bolton said. "We are investigating."