A body was found under a bridge near Snelling today, and Merced County sheriff's investigators are calling the death a homicide.
Detectives said the investigation into the death is preliminary, and details are few.
The victim, a Latino male, was discovered by a passerby early Wednesday morning in a creek directly under the bridge on La Grange Road, according to Deputy Tom MacKenzie, sheriff's spokesman. MacKenzie said the passerby was driving by the site, about three miles north of Merced Falls Road, and had stopped to take photos of the scenery. Deputies responded to the scene after receiving a call around 8:30 a.m.
Investigators released no information about how the victim died, although MacKenzie said there are definite signs of foul play. Detectives placed yellow crime scene tape near the bridge, scouring the area for clues.
The identity of the victim is unknown, and no suspects are in custody. MacKenzie said it's unknown how long the body was under the bridge, although it wasn't badly decomposed.
The death is the third reported homicide in Merced County this year.
Detectives are asking anyone with information about the crime to call the department's investigations unit at (209) 385-7472. Calls are kept confidential, and you can remain anonymous.