Police investigate death in Gilroy fire

Family members think Jerry Mungaray was murdered

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UNDER INVESTIGATION Jerry Mungaray was found by police burning alive early in the morning July 24. Photo via Facebook

Sheriff’s deputies are investigating the death of a man found burning alive on the side of U.S. 101 early in the morning July 24.

About 2:48am, California Highway Patrol officers responded to the area of Sargent Crossing and U.S. 101, just south of Gilroy, on a report of a fire on the side of the freeway.

Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the area after the CHP officers discovered that a man’s body was burning in the fire, reads a press release from the sheriff’s office.

The man was later identified as Jerry Mungaray, 40, of Gilroy, authorities said. Mungaray was transported to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in critical condition with severe burns to his body.

Mungaray later died of his injuries. He was pronounced dead at 11:54pm July 24, according to the sheriff’s office.

Mungaray’s family members think he was killed by an unknown suspect or suspects. His sister, Jasmine Richards, posted on Facebook July 25 that “someone decided to take my brother’s life and leave him burning on the side of the road.”

Her post said he was last seen the evening of July 23 in front of the 7-Eleven store on Tenth Street in Gilroy, in a verbal confrontation with people in two vehicles.

The family is asking anyone with knowledge of the circumstances leading to Mungaray’s death to call the sheriff’s office.  

Detectives are actively investigating the circumstances surrounding Mungaray’s death. Anyone with information about Mungaray’s death can call the sheriff’s Investigative Services Division at (408) 808-4500, or the anonymous tip line at (408) 808-4431.