4-year delay in Marsh ID a mystery
August 23, 2013
The announcement Tuesday that the remains of a Nevada County man missing since April 2009 had been found in Riverside County raised more questions than answers.
Most notably, investigators declined to comment on why Isaiah Marsh's body was found in June 2009 but not identified until this month — even though DNA was collected and submitted to the state Department of Justice.
Marsh's truck had been found in Riverside County in May 2009 — but investigators also would not comment on its proximity to his remains.
"The investigators said they weren't going to put anything else out (on the vehicle) because it is an ongoing investigation," Riverside County Sheriff's Sgt. Lisa McConnell said Wednesday.
Marsh's disappearance shocked his friends and family; they pursued an aggressive campaign to search for him, holding vigils and setting up a fund to offer a reward for information about his disappearance.
Marsh's last cell phone transmission put the device in the Bullards Bar Reservoir area near North San Juan. The last reported development in Marsh's case was when his Ford F350 truck was found in May 2009 in Riverside County. At that time, Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal described the case as a likely homicide.
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According to a press release from Riverside County, Palm Desert Police officers found Marsh's body on June 12, 2009, after responding to a call in Desert Hot Springs. Sheriff's investigators from the Palm Desert station and the Central Homicide Unit were called out.
At the time the remains were located, investigators were unable to make a positive identification due to the condition of the body, the release stated. No personal property or identification was located.
Marsh's body was found in a remote desert area and reportedly had been set on fire.
Although the remains were burned, the release stated that no clear-cut cause of death was established.
It was estimated that he had been dead five to 10 days prior to being found, and it was not known if his death occurred where he was found.
For several months, investigators tried to identify the victim but had no success, the press release stated.
DNA was collected from the remains and submitted to the Department of Justice in a further attempt to identify the victim.
On Aug. 15, 2013, investigators were notified of a DNA match and the victim was identified as Isaiah Marsh.
"On this side, we're still looking at it as a suspicious death — we have not yet ruled it as a homicide," said Riverside Sheriff's Deputy Alberto Martinez Wednesday.
Questions to Riverside County on the lengthy delay in identification were referred to the state Department of Justice crime lab.
"There could be many factors involved," said DOJ spokeswoman Michelle Gregory.
"Not knowing the specifics of this case, I can't comment.
"Usually any perceived 'time lapse' is not from the DOJ lab's end," Gregory said.
"We work on samples as we receive them and with what we receive."
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.
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