Male body found in Tuolumne

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

Investigators had to wait for an autopsy Wednesday to determine the victim's gender. He was a Latino in his early to mid-30s, according to Sgt. Jeff Wilson of the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Department.

Wilson said there was evidence that the man had been assaulted, but none of the wounds appeared to be severe enough to kill him. He said toxicology tests could offer clues to the cause of death.

Detectives suspect the victim was connected with an illegal marijuana-growing operation in the area, Wilson said.

There are no suspects, Wilson said, but investigators would like to talk with anyone who may have been in the area early Tuesday morning.

Wilson said a man driving a logging truck spotted the body wrapped in black plastic as he was driving on the heavily wooded Cottonwood Road about 11½ miles east of Tuolumne City. He stopped his truck to confirm, and once he got into cell phone range, he called the Sheriff's Department.

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

Anyone with potential information should call the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Department at 533-5815.