Property owner finds dead body in Merced County

November 22, 2012 12:31:31 AM PST
A murder investigation is underway after a disturbing discovery in a Merced County orchard.

The owner of the property in the area of Dickenson Ferry Road near Highway 59, found the victim's body Wednesday.

Deputies say the victim is a man who had gunshot wounds, but they're not releasing many other details at this point.

Detectives are hoping an autopsy on Saturday will give them more information as they work to find the killer.

This exclusive video shows Merced County Sheriff's deputies just moments after they arrived at this orchard on Wednesday night. Sgt. Kevin Blake says they were called out after the property owner found a man, who wasn't moving, lying on the ground.

Sgt. Kevin Blake said, "He was pronounced dead on scene and had sustained gunshot wounds."

Irene Meraz says she heard the sirens and saw the patrol cars speeding past her house with their lights on, but she didn't find out what happened until hours later.

"To have a body in the back, close to us, I can't believe it," Meraz said. "It's terrible."

Detectives stayed at the scene long after sunset and returned in the morning to look for evidence again in the daylight. It appears to be a spot where people dump trash, but Sgt. Blake says it's not clear if the victim's body was dropped off here, or if someone killed him in the orchard.

Sgt. Blake explained, "The investigation is very preliminary, therefore we don't have a lot of information, however there is an autopsy scheduled for Saturday, and by Monday we expect to know a lot more."

Investigators are asking anyone who may have heard or seen anything in that area to call the sheriff's office.


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