Deputies responded to a report of a body in the canal near Westley after receiving a 911 call around 5:30 p.m. Sunday, March 3, according to Stanislaus Sheriff Sgt. Anthony Bejaran.
After an hour and a half search divers pulled a partially decomposed unidentified male body from the canal around 7 p.m. a quarter of a mile north of Needham Road in the aqueduct, he said.
“It had been in the water for some time,” Bejaran said noting deputies were awaiting an autopsy scheduled later this week to determine if injuries found were from the canal or were there before the body ended up there. No identification was found on the body.
A Modesto towing company crew made a gruesome discovery early last week during a routine search for cars in the same canal just south of Fink Road near Crows Landing as they pulled up a car containing two bodies Tuesday, Feb. 28.
Both bodies — a male and female — underwent an autopsy Thursday, March 1, but they had not yet been identified, according to Bejaran.
“We’re trying to identify them, but we're probably going to have to go through dental records,” he said. “We’re not sure if it's suspicious, self-inflicted or other circumstances at this point.”
Deputies are trying to ascertain how long the bodies have been in the water, but they think they may have been there since some time in January, he said.
Investigators only wished to identify the vehicle as a four-door compact vehicle and are releasing no further information, Bejaran said.
Ron Hannink of Stanislaus Towing said the company was doing a routine sweep of the canal near Fink Road for cars when the discovery was made.
“This one looked like it hadn’t been there very long,” he said. “Unfortunately this isn’t the first time we’ve found something like this, and it probably won’t be the last.”
• Nick Rappley can be reached at 892-6187, ext. 31 or email@example.com.