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WEST VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS

SANTA PAULA : Skeleton Found Is That of Man, Coroner Says

September 15, 1993|JULIE FIELDS

A skeleton found in a stream bed near Santa Paula was identified Tuesday as that of a male, about 5 feet, 7 inches tall who had been dead for several months, coroner's officials said.

The skeleton was found by a ranch foreman late Monday in a creek bed in a rugged canyon off a private road connecting with South Mountain Road.

Deputy Coroner Jim Wingate said the man had been wearing white Head tennis shoes, size 8 1/2, and blue denim pants with a 29-inch waist and the brand name Riggaletto. No jewelry or identification had been found by late Tuesday.

Wingate said investigators have determined that the dead man was not Asian or American-Indian, based on bone structure. He said they hope to determine the age later in the week.

No cause of death has been determined, Wingate said.

Sheriff's Sgt. Kelly Fadler said the case is being investigated as a homicide, although searchers on Tuesday found nothing to indicate foul play.

"It could have been some hiker that fell down," he said. "But we are investigating it as a homicide until we determine it's not."

Fadler said it appeared the body had washed down the creek and then lodged against a scrub oak tree on the side of the creek bed. He said it appeared that the bones had been covered with water at one time.

Fadler said he could not recall any recent missing-persons cases where the individual had last been seen in the area where the bones were found.

Once coroner's officials determine age and other identifying characteristics, detectives will try to determine an identity by putting out a statewide bulletin.

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