Detectives are trying to figure out how a 30-year-old man wound up dead near a roadside north of Modesto early Friday morning.
The body of Modesto resident Brian Morris was discovered by a woman driving on Costner Road near Carver Road just south of Ladd Road, according to Deputy Andrew Winter of the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department.
Deputies received a call at 5:50 a.m. after the woman spotted the body near a vacant lot just off Costner, a two-lane road that dead-ends west of Carver and is surrounded by fields.
An autopsy was performed Friday, and Winter said the man died from a gunshot wound.
Winter would not say where on the body Morris was shot. Earlier in the day, Lt. Charles Grom said the man had visible injuries to the back of the head.
When asked if Morris was killed where his body was discovered, or possibly somewhere else and left on Costner Road, Winter said detectives "have an idea," but are not releasing that information.
Earlier in the day, Grom said evidence at the scene — the positioning of the body, the lack of drag marks from a vehicle — suggest that Morris was killed where his body was found.
He said investigators think Morris' body had been there for up to 12 hours.
Winter said there are no known suspects.
Grom said Morris was carrying identification, and investigators are using that to follow up on his history and get other information that might help them determine what happened.
Winter said detectives found some details that provided clues to Morris' recent whereabouts. He added that they spoke with Morris' mother.
A phone call to a number listed for Morris at a Modesto address was answered by grieving family members, who declined comment.
Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact Detective Frank Soria at 525-7080. Callers can also leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. Tipsters can e-mail tips at www.stancrimetips.org, or text them to CRIMES (274637) by typing "Tip704" and a message, and be eligible for a cash reward.
Bee Online Content Editor Brian Clark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2362.