Central Valley

Homicide discovered in Modesto

Detectives on Tuesday evening continued looking into the suspicious death of a 54-year-old man found in his east Modesto home, and authorities believe his body might have been there a few days before it was discovered Monday.

Stanislaus County coroner officials had conducted an autopsy on Michael John Silveira Sr., but they had not determined the cause of death, said Sgt. Rick Armendariz, a Modesto police spokesman.

By Tuesday afternoon, the suspicious death had been ruled a homicide after the initial investigation revealed elements that a criminal act had taken place, Armendariz said.

A Modesto police officer discovered Silveira's body inside his home at 304 Cloverdale Ave. late Monday afternoon. The officer went to the home after someone called police wondering about Silveira's whereabouts.

The house is just northeast of Yosemite Boulevard and El Vista Avenue.

Fake grenades found

When the officer arrived, he went inside through the rear entrance and found Silveira's body, according to Modesto police Lt. Chris Fuzie.

He said it appeared Silveira had been dead at least two days. After making sure nobody else was in the home, the officer called for detectives.

When the detectives and other officers arrived, they discovered what appeared to be fake hand grenades, though they weren't certain. The Stanislaus County sheriff's bomb squad was called, and the grenades were determined to be fake.

After obtaining a search warrant, investigators, wearing protective suits because of the stench, entered the home.

Fuzie said about 15 people, including family members, friends and "visitors," have been interviewed. No suspects had been identified.

"Right now, we consider anyone a suspect," he said.

Fuzie wouldn't go into detail about what was found at the scene, but added that detectives "found something that makes us think it's a homicide."

He also said statements from neighbors shed some light, but he would not go into detail about what they said.

One neighbor Monday night said there generally seemed to be people arriving at the house late at night or in the early morning hours.

Another neighbor said Tuesday that Silveira had moved into the neighborhood several years ago before his son moved in. She said the son had since moved out, and Silveira appeared to be living alone in recent years.

Police ask anyone with information about this homicide to call Detective Dale Lingerfelt or Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. Tipsters can e-mail tips through the Crime Stoppers Web site, www.modestopolice.com/CrimeStoppers, or text tips to CRIMES (274637) by typing "Tip704" plus your message. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada contributed to this report.

Bee online editor Brian Clark can be reached at bclark@modbee.com or 578-2362.