Authorities ask for public’s help in homicide investigation
Investigators are asking the public for leads regarding the suspected homicide of a man whose body was found in a Placer County canal earlier this month.
James Pascual Rodriguez, 30, of Grass Valley, was found dead Aug. 5 in a canal near Peaceful Valley Road. Rodriguez’s feet were bound together when his body was discovered, and it was determined that he died as a result of head trauma, according to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.
The case is being investigated as a homicide, sheriff’s Lt. Nelson Resendes has said.
On Wednesday, Resendes said that authorities have not been able to identify any specific suspects yet, emphasizing that police are hoping that someone who knew Rodriguez or has direct knowledge of what may have happened to him will step forward to assist investigators.
To that end, the Sheriff’s Office posted an update to its Facebook page on Wednesday, asking the public for clues as to Rodriguez’s death.
“Detectives from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office are seeking any witnesses with information regarding Rodriguez’s homicide or recent events involving Rodriguez, which may be relevant,” the post states.
Rodriguez was homeless in North San Juan at the time of his death, which makes it more challenging than normal for authorities to look into his background for potential leads, Resendes added.
“We believe he was homeless, which makes it very difficult to gather information about his friends, habits, whereabouts, et cetera,” the lieutenant said. “That’s why we’re reaching out to the public, anybody with experience with this guy reach out to us and let us know…we want to know what was going on in his life at the time this happened.”
Investigators have not found any evidence about any possible weapons involved in the suspected homicide, and no items of interest were found on or around Rodriguez’s body, Resendes added.
It is also not clear if Rodriguez drowned or was already deceased due to his head injuries when he ended up in the canal, Resendes said, and further details are unlikely to be known without the assistance of additional witnesses, he added.
Based on the advanced level of decomposition on the body as reported by the forensic pathologists who conducted the autopsy on Rodriguez, authorities believe that he had been dead for at least a week when his body was discovered.
Stephen Wyer is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at email@example.com
Contact the Sacramento Valley Crime Stoppers at 1-800-AA-CRIME
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