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Body triggers homicide probe

The discovery of a badly decomposed, unidentified body Friday in rural Nevada County has triggered a homicide investigation because the body appeared to be intentionally covered with dirt, according to Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal.

“It looked like they made some attempt to cover the body,” said Royal.

Deputies were unable to determine the age of the individual but it is believed to be a male, said Royal.



The body was discovered around 2:51 p.m. Friday by a man riding a quad on a roughly graded dirt road on Forest Service land, about three quarters of a mile south of the intersection of Highway 20 and Chalk Bluff Road.

The man stopped to investigate after smelling what he thought was a dead animal. He called the sheriff’s dispatch and reported finding clothing and what appeared to be human remains.




The body had apparently been there for months.

The location was so remote that it took deputies almost an hour to reach the scene.

The sheriff’s office called in a special investigative team from the California Department of Justice with expertise in collecting evidence, such as DNA and blood samples, to process the scene before moving the body to the county coroner’s office on Saturday afternoon.

Royal said clothing was not searched for identification, which will be done by the coroner. It could take several days to determine the victim’s identity, he said.

The corner will perform an autopsy today to try to determine the cause of death.

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To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail laurab@theunion.com or call 477-4231. To contact Jill Bauerle, e-mail jillb@theunion.com or call 477-4219.


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