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Autopsy reveals head trauma

An autopsy performed on a man whose body was found last week in the woods received trauma to the back of the head, confirming suspicions that he is a homicide victim, Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal said Monday after the autopsy was performed.

But the man’s identification remains a mystery as there was no identification found in his clothing. The investigation must now rely on dental pictures, which will be compared with records of missing persons from neighboring counties, Royal said.

“It can be a long, arduous process,” Royal said.



It was not clear whether the head trauma was caused by blunt force or a gun shot, Royal said.

“It will take further testing to determine the exact instrument used,” Royal said.




The autopsy revealed the victim was a man, but the coroner could not determine the age of the individual. The body was badly decomposed and was at the location for six to eight months, the coroner determined.

It was found covered with dirt and debris – apparently intentionally, Royal said.

“There are a number of indications that … it was a homicide,” Royal said, adding the case could be challenging to solve because of the lapse of time since the man’s death.

The body was found on Friday by a man riding a quad on Chalk Bluff Road on a remote section of Forest Service land, about three-fourths of a mile from the intersection with Highway 20.

“Someone had to be familiar with the road,” Royal said, adding the man could have been killed outside the county and his body brought to the woods to be dumped.

Investigators from the California Department of Justice responded to the scene to assist the sheriff’s department in the collection of evidence. There were no weapons found.

“It’s a puzzle. You just start filling in the pieces,” Royal said.

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To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail laurab@ theunion.com or call 477-4230.


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