Body found on Echo Summit probable murder victim |

Body found on Echo Summit probable murder victim

Christina Proctor

Investigators believe the man, whose remains were found below Echo Summit in August, was the victim of a homicide.

“There was substantial trauma to the bone caused by a sharp instrument,” said El Dorado County Detective Don Atkinson. “The marks on the bones indicate he was dismembered.”

Despite expansive searches of the area below U.S. Highway 50 investigators could only find bones that make up the torso, arms and upper legs. No skull, hand bones, or bones beneath the kneecaps were found, Atkinson said.

A group of California Conservation Corps workers found the remains while taking a hike down the ravine after work on Aug. 10. The body was located on a more than 70-degree slope about 600 feet below the highway.

The remains were first examined by a pathologist and then by an anthropologist at Chico State University. Atkinson explained that remaining tissue was stripped from the bones and the skeleton reconstructed.

The anthropologist estimated the man was between 30 to 40 years old and about 5 feet, 7 inches tall. Without the skull the anthropologist couldn’t exactly determine the race, Atkinson said.

“He placed the man as Indo-European, which can range from Caucasian to Hispanic and the Mediterranean races,” he said.

A weight estimate couldn’t be extrapolated from the bones. The man also suffered a traumatic back injury at some time in his life.

“It was something that he suffered, healed from and probably lived with back pain,” Atkinson said.

The experts estimated the man had been dead between four to 12 months.

Materials found near the body were sent to the Department of Justice for a fingerprint check. Until the results are back investigators are focussing on missing persons in the area and then expanding the search to the state and nation.

“This case is obviously complicated by the fact that we don’t know who the victim was,” Atkinson said.

Investigators think a motorcycle found about 100 yards from the remains weren’t related.

“It’s a natural drainage area, so everything from the road flows down there,” Atkinson said.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department at (530) 573-3000.

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