Man and his dog were killed in Stevinson

Casey Desalles and his dog were both killed in a home on Sixth near Lander in Stevinson.
February 26, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Merced County Sheriff's deputies are investigating a murder. Casey Desalles and his dog were both killed in a home on Sixth near Lander in Stevinson.

Detectives say they've been out to the victim's property in the past for marijuana grows, but they're still looking into whether or not that played a role in the homicide.

Neighbors tell us the 37 year old had turned his life around, and they're devastated by his death.

The rural Stevinson property, complete with a windmill and buffalo, became a murder scene Wednesday morning.

"Our department was dispatched to this residence for a homicide," said Sgt. Jeff Coburn. "When the deputies arrived, they were notified of a deceased subject inside."

Detectives tell us a neighbor found Desalles with multiple gunshot wounds. The victim's dog was also dead at the scene.

Rita Rice lives next door and says it was her friend who made the disturbing discovery.

"Just shaken up by it, he can't believe it," said Rice. "It's just sad. They're like brothers, they are like brothers, they've been raised together, you know?"

The major crimes unit spent hours gathering evidence and talking to relatives and neighbors. They believe Desalles died recently, but no one reported hearing any gunfire.

"There's always somebody around, and no one heard anything," said Rice. "It just shocked us."

Investigators are now looking into past problems at the property to see if they could shed light on this crime.

Sgt. Jeff Coburn added, "We had been called to this residence prior in years past for marijuana related growing, cultivation, and we're still looking into those leads as possible motivation behind this."

Detectives say they're still looking into who else may have been living in the home where Desalles was found dead. They're also waiting for autopsy results before confirming the cause of death.


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