Detectives suspect Stevinson homicide was drug-related

rparsons@mercedsunstar.comMarch 6, 2014 

— Investigators think a homicide reported last month in Stevinson was a drug-related murder, a spokesman for the Merced County Sheriff’s Department confirmed Thursday.

Casey DeSalles, 37, was found dead Feb. 26 at his home in the 19000 block of Sixth Avenue in Stevinson.

Detectives said DeSalles had been shot at least once, but have not said whether those injuries caused his death. Deputies declined to comment regarding other possible causes of death.

Deputy Delray Shelton said an autopsy has been completed, but investigators maintain that releasing the formal cause of death may hamper their investigation.

“He (DeSalles) was involved in drug sales and marijuana cultivation,” Shelton said Wednesday. “Detectives have developed a number of persons of interest in the case due to the high level of foot traffic coming and going from his home.”

No arrests have been and no suspect descriptions have been released.

A friend of DeSalles found his body inside the home about 5 a.m. Feb. 26. Deputies have not wanted to comment on what prompted the friend to check on DeSalles at that time.

DeSalles’ death was Merced County’s fifth homicide in 2014. All five cases have involved firearms, and four remain unsolved, including DeSalles’ case.

Sheriff’s investigators are asking anyone with any information about the case contact the Merced County Sheriff’s Department at (209) 385-7472. Callers can remain anonymous.

Staff writer Rob Parsons can be reached at rparsons@mercedsunstar.com or (209) 385-2482.

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