Rescue workers found the body of a Westley man who had been missing for more than a week in the Delta-Mendota Canal last weekend.
California Highway Patrol identified the man as Alfonso Ramos, 49, after finding him Dec. 29. The coroner’s office of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department gave his name as Alfonso Ramos-Reyes.
The man’s brother reported seeing signs that a vehicle had gone into the canal as he drove along its banks earlier that day, according to the CHP.
Westley-El Solyo firefighters initially received reports that the body was in the California Aqueduct, so they searched the aqueduct near Howard Road and Interstate 5, fire Chief Mike Lara said. However, it later became clear that the brother was referring to the Delta-Mendota Canal.
Rescue workers recovered the man’s body from inside a 1997 Ford Escort in the canal about 1,000 feet south of Needham Road at about 5 p.m. Dec. 29. Car parts were reportedly found along the canal bank near where the car was found, Lara said, and a concrete stairway along the bank is broken.
The victim’s brother reported him as missing to the sheriff’s department Dec. 14, the day the CHP suspects the car went into the canal. The brother then called the sheriff’s department again Dec. 29 after he thought he had spotted the vehicle. The sheriff’s department referred the case to the CHP.
Though the incident appears to be an accident, it is still unknown why the car went into the canal, according to the CHP, and officers are investigating.