BREAKING: Nevada County authorities make an arrest in apparent homicide of Kenneth Pestana
UPDATE at 9:40 a.m. June 9:
A stolen vehicle and dog taken from homicide victim Joseph Pestana led authorities late Thursday to identify Joseph Ward as a person of interest and later a suspect in the Nevada County man’s death, authorities said.
Detectives determined that Ward, 31, had fled to Nevada, leading local sheriff and district attorney investigators, along with Nevada state authorities, to create a surveillance team. The team found Ward with Pestana’s vehicle and dog — leading them to determine Ward was, in fact, a suspect in the death, the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office said.
Authorities said they tried to take Ward into custody, leading him to release the dog on them. Officers were forced to kill the dog before taking Ward into custody.
Law enforcement on Friday was working to extradite Ward back to Nevada County, where he will face murder accusations, a release states.
Officers arrested a man Thursday night in Carson City, Nevada, in connection with the Nevada County homicide of Kenneth Pestana, 61, authorities said.
Law enforcement found Joseph Ward, 27, of Nevada, around 6:40 p.m. after searching the Bella Lago apartments on Airport Road — finding him after discovering a stolen vehicle in the area that Pestana owned, authorities said.
Authorities shot an aggressive Rottwiler Ward had before arresting him in connection with Pestana’s death, reports state.
Pestana was found dead in his Nevada County home after deputies responded around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday to the 22000 block of Highway 20, about 10 miles northeast of Nevada City.
Authorities responded after a caller said they thought someone might be dead in the house, sheriff’s officials said.
“A preliminary investigation indicates foul play suspected in Mr. Pestana’s death,” a release states.
Nevada County Sgt. Robert Jakobs declined to discuss specifics about the death, saying the victim’s wounds led authorities to believe it’s a homicide.
“We’re just beginning to execute the search warrant in the residence where we hope to collect physical evidence,” Jakobs said.
Jakobs declined to release details about what weapon may have been used or the number of suspects involved.
“It’s a very active, fluid investigation,” he added.
An autopsy is expected either today or early next week, Jakobs said.
Pestana, who spent time in California and Nevada over the years, had a criminal history.
Pestana served time in 1973 in Soledad Prison in California for second-degree murder, Sheriff Keith Royal said.
According to The Record-Courier, Pestana in 2012 agreed to leave that state as part of a no contest plea deal to a drug accusation. His girlfriend had said at that time they were looking at property in Sonoma and Nevada City.
Pestana’s home, a log cabin-style house, had police tape around it on Thursday. A couple of motorcycles and a Corvette were parked outside the home.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4239. Multimedia Reporter Elias Funez and Taylor Pettaway, from the Nevada Appeal, contributed to this report.
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