The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed to News Channel 3 that a suspicious death reported near Indio several weeks ago is now being investigated as a homicide.
“The incident is now being investigated as a homicide due to the evidence located at the scene,” read an email from the department’s Media Information Bureau. “At the moment no additional details are available for release regarding the incident.”
The cause of death is being withheld per the investigation.
At around 1:30 p.m. on September 24 deputies received a report that a body had been found on a vacant property on Corregidor Avenue near Van Buren Street.
The person who found the body and called 911 was ‘affiliated’ with the property, according to the Sheriffs Department.
The identity of the victim has not been released.
Neighbors said the home had caught fire several times over the last few months. A large fire on June 12 burned the house to the ground.
“There were always homeless people coming in and out of the property,” said Carlos Graciano. “It’s been on fire like 5 times in the last few months.”
Sergio Garcia, a neighbor, said there had been a small fire on the property just before the body was discovered.
People who live on the street don’t know who it was that died or how, but Garcia believes it could have been one homeless man he says was living there, notorious in the neighborhood for reportedly setting those fires.
Cal Fire crews were also on scene Tuesday investigating what role those fires could have played in this suspicious death.