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Body found in search for victim of suspected homicide, recovered at Nevada City property


Investigators say they’ve located the remains of a man on a Nevada City property, where they had been looking for the body of a homicide victim since Thursday.

On Thursday, the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office arrested Russell Rippetoe, 57, at an address on the 26000 block of North Bloomfield Road. Rippetoe was arrested for the suspected homicide of an unidentified man, but the victim’s body had not been found at the time of the arrest, authorities said.

Investigators conducted an extensive search of the North Bloomfield Road property, and were able to locate a body around 5 p.m. Saturday, according to sheriff’s Lt. Sean Scales.

It has not been confirmed that the remains are those of the alleged homicide victim, Scales said, as authorities are awaiting the results of an autospy that will definitively identify the body.

While declining to comment as to the specific condition of the recovered remains, Scales said the body’s condition corresponds to the timeline in which authorities believe the victim was killed and buried by Rippetoe.

The Sheriff’s Office received a tip Thursday, with information that Rippetoe had killed another man at the North Bloomfield Road address after an argument between the two had escalated. No further information regarding the tip was provided, but authorities said they had reason to believe the body was located somewhere at the property where they arrested Rippetoe.

On Saturday investigators excavated the body from the ground where it had been buried somewhat recently, Scales said. Authorities identified an area where it appeared someone had recently been digging, and these suspicions were confirmed as the body was later found to be buried in the ground beneath this suspected dig site, Scales said.

The Sheriff’s Office received help in locating and recovering the body from a Chico State forensics anthropology team, as well as from an equipment operator with Nevada County Public Works, Scales added.

Stephen Wyer is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at swyer@theunion.com

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