Central Valley

Body found off roadway in Stanislaus National Forest

UPDATE: The body found on the side of a road in Stanislaus National Forest is believed to be that of a Latino male in his mid-30s, authorities said this afternoon.

Sgt. Jeff Wilson of the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department said an autopsy was performed, but that no identity could be established.

He said there was evidence to conclude the victim had been assaulted, but none of the injuries was determined to be severe enough to cause a death. Detectives are awaiting the results of a toxicology screen that may reveal the cause of death.

He said the man may have had a connection with a nearby "marijuana garden."

There are no suspects at this time.

The sheriff's department is asking anyone hiking in the area, or anyone who was there in the early hours Tuesday morning and may have noticed anything unusual or suspicious to call 533-5815.

A body wrapped in plastic was discovered just off a road in the Stanislaus National Forest on Tuesday morning, authorities said.

Investigators are relying on an autopsy this morning to give them possible clues as to when and how the body got there, according to Sgt. Jeff Wilson of the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department.

Wilson didn’t know if the victim was a man or woman. He said X-rays were taken through the black plastic, and he’s awaiting those results. The plastic was not removed because it could contain evidence, he said.

Wilson said a man driving a logging truck spotted the body as he was driving on the heavily-wooded Cottonwood Road about 11 1/2 miles east of Tuolumne City.

He stopped his truck to confirm, and once he got into cell phone range, he called sheriff’s detectives.

Wilson said Cottonwood Road is open year-round, unless there are weather issues, and used mainly by loggers and sightseers.

The Department of Justice will conduct the autopsy, and more information is expected to be released today.

View Larger Map