Update: Body found southwest of Morgan Hill


Sheriff’s deputies are investigating a body found with a gunshot
wound in a rural area southwest of Morgan Hill early this
Authorities are investigating the death of an adult male whose body was found next to an illegal marijuana garden in a remote area south of Morgan Hill.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation in which the man suffered at least one gunshot wound, according to Sgt. Rick Sung. The Santa Clara County Coroner’s office is conducting an autopsy to determine the cause of death, after which the man’s next of kin will be notified and his identity will be released.

The body was found about 1:40 a.m. Friday in the area of Sheila Avenue and Prom Drive, Sung said. The corpse was found in a remote unincorporated area on the side of a steep hill. The area is sparsely populated and covered with shrubbery and other vegetation, and the body was found several hundred yards off a private road in a hard-to-reach spot.

Authorities have not said if the man was killed on the property where he was found, or if he was killed elsewhere and then transported to the area for disposal, Sung said. He also declined to say approximately how long the man was dead before the body was found.

A call entry in the Morgan Hill Police activity log says the local department was called by the Sheriff’s Office about 3 a.m. requesting assistance to search the area in response to “a shooting.” The entry says the shooting might have occurred about 8 p.m. Thursday night.

Sung said he does not know if the call to MHPD is referring to the same incident, and Morgan Hill Police Sgt. Jerry Neumayer said local police did not assist in a search of the property.

The body was found by an unidentified caller. Sung declined to say if the caller knew the dead man, or why the caller was in the remote area.

Up the hill from where the body was found and at the end of the private road is a single residence. A neighbor in the area, who declined to be named, said she saw a tow truck hauling a gold-colored sport-utility vehicle down the hill, coming from the direction of the home.

A locked gate blocks public traffic to the home. The neighbor said the vehicle was hauled away Friday afternoon, when investigators and patrol vehicles from the Sheriff’s Office were scouring the area.

But throughout the weekend, the area was quiet, according to the neighbor.

She added that is was a “surprise” to learn that someone had been growing marijuana in the area because there is no water nearby. Plus, other residents regularly walk and hike in the area, and if someone had seen the marijuana garden they would have reported it because “we have a very good group of neighbors,” the resident said.

Sung also said the size of the marijuana garden found nearby, and its possible connection to the death have not been determined by deputies.

Whether or not the marijuana and the death are connected, Sung said the incident highlights the danger that can happen around illegal pot gardens, which can also be harmful to the environment.

“That’s part of the reason why marijuana eradication efforts are so critical,” Sung said.

A law enforcement source close to the investigation said the man was shot in the leg on the property where he was found. The source, who requested anonymity, said the marijuana garden and the death are closely connected.

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