Autopsy results finalized in suspicious death of Grass Valley man |

Autopsy results finalized in suspicious death of Grass Valley man

A man found dead last month near Brunswick Road died of a methamphetamine overdose, per the results of an autopsy report in the case.

William Rieg, 48, was found dead May 12 in Grass Valley, just west of Brunswick Road in a forested area, according to police. His cause of death was unknown at the time, and the death was initially classified as suspicious while an investigation was conducted by the Grass Valley Police Department.

On Thursday, the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office stated in a press release that Rieg had died due to the toxic effects of a methamphetamine overdose. The information came from a report from a forensic pathologist, who had analyzed toxicology reports to determine the cause of death.

The delay in announcing the cause of Rieg’s death is not uncommon, as it regularly takes four to six weeks for a forensic pathologist to make a final determination in such cases, according to sheriff’s Capt. Jeff Pettitt.

Rieg had originally been reported to authorities as missing by his family on May 7, and a search was conducted by Grass Valley police with assistance from K-9 units and Search and Rescue volunteers with the county.

According to Grass Valley Police Capt. Steve Johnson, family members and friends became concerned after Rieg had apparently stopped showing up to his work and was not responding to his cell phone.

Rieg, who was homeless at the time of his death, had been living in the area of a homeless encampment at Loma Rica Ranch, which is where police began their search when he disappeared, according to Johnson.

Stephen Wyer is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at

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