Body Found at Fresno's Woodward Park

October 5, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A frightening find at Woodward Park Sunday has homicide detectives searching for clues about the dead man found floating in a lake often crowded with kids. People at the park noticed the body at about 1:30 Sunday afternoon and the mystery has been slow to unfold. Park goers found the body in the middle of the afternoon while there were several families and kids nearby. But why that body was in the lake and how it got there remains a mystery.People visiting Woodward Park made a grim discovery Sunday afternoon. "We got here and there was a body floating in the lake, so we're told that we needed to move away from the scene," said Nadira Yusuf.

"It was shocking. You don't see this everyday at a park, fortunately," said witness Ty McCartney.

Park goers found the body floating about fifteen feet from shore in the park's biggest lake, where people usually go to feed birds.

Fresno Police don't know how the victim died, but they are calling his death suspicious. They said the man is in his late teens or early twenties, and that he had been in the water for what investigators said was "a little while."

"I think the biggest challenge is make sure that we accurately determine what caused this death and then if there is someone to be held responsible that we find out who that is," said Lt. Tony Bennink with the Fresno Police Department.

Investigators said Sunday's discovery is rare. The last time a body was found floating in a Woodward Park lake was in 1996.

The investigators have already begun looking along the edges of the lake just to see if there's anything that would be some sort of evidence. As detectives examined the body, witnesses stood nearby. Many said this is something they thought they'd never see at Woodward Park.

Fresno Police said they have identified the victim, but at this point, they are not releasing his name.

The last time a body was found in a Woodward Park lake, it was a 2-year-old boy who had been kidnapped and dumped.

Matthew Moorby was found in the lake just off the Japanese Gardens, two days after he disappeared in February 1996. A local radio reporter confessed to the crime six months later, but Steven Diddy recanted his story and was committed to a mental institution.

Moorby's murder remains unsolved to this day.

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