Body of Merced Man Found in a Ditch

December 28, 2009 9:00:15 AM PST
A Merced missing person search is now a hunt for a murderer after a man's body turned up in a ditch on Christmas Day.                   |   Watch Video Above for Extended Coverage   |

Gabriel Olvera's body was found on Christmas morning a ravine in Merced County.

Investigators and his family say they have been searching an entire month for him. Now, his family is making a plea to found out what happened to the 20-year old.

"This is my friend, choppers, you know what I'm saying? You know he left us, but he will never be forgotten from our hearts."

Family and friends of Gabriel Olvera did not want to go on camera Sunday, but said the 20-year-old liked to play basketball and had plans to go to college.

"But, he was a good guy. You know what I mean?"

Olvera left his Merced home on Thanksgiving. He was riding his bike over to a nearby family holiday party, but he never made it.

Olvera's family filed a missing person's report and posted these flyers all over town.

Then on Christmas day, two hunters discovered his decomposed body partially buried in a ravine 8 miles outside of Merced. "They had a hunting dog with them. The hunting dog keyed on what they thought might have been a wild carcass of some sort. But, instead of being a wild animal, it was a human being."

Investigators won't say how Olvera died, but are calling his death suspicious.

Meanwhile, his family and friends tell Action News they don't know who may have killed Olvera, they're asking for the public's help, and are offering a five-thousand dollar reward to anyone who has information about the 20-year-old's suspected killer.

"You always hope for a happy ending when a relative or friend has gone for a few days or a few weeks this did not and now we need to find out why and after we found why, we need to find out who did it."

Olvera's family initially filed a missing person's report with the Merced Police Department. But because his body was found in Merced County, this has now turned into a collaborative effort between the police and sheriff's department.

Monday, the two departments will meet and decide who will take over the case.

If you have any information about his death, you are urged to call the authorities.


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