Authorities have found the body of a San Francisco Bay man who they believe was killed by his co-worker after a fight last week, according to police.
Investigators searching the area of Jameson Creek Road in Santa Cruz County found the body of Kyle Myrick, 28, around 4 p.m. Thursday. A medical examiner from the coroner's office confirmed Myrick's identity and family members announced the news at a vigil that evening.
Police said new information gathered during follow-up interviews led them to the area where Myrick's body was found.
Myrick vanished Friday, Jan. 22. His co-worker at GP Sports in San Jose, 39-year-old Steve Hlebo, of Los Altos, was charged Wednesday with Myrick’s murder. According to a police report, authorities found a severed ear and a "large amount of fresh blood" in a storage unit where Helbo's car had been spotted.
Myrick had apparently gotten into a physical fight Jan. 22 with Hlebo as the two were assembling two ATVs in the back of the motorbike shop at 2020 Camden Avenue, according to the police report. What the fight entailed has not been revealed.
At some point that afternoon, another employee noticed Myrick was missing and Hlebo’s GMC truck was backed up behind the vacant building next door, which had been damaged in a 2014 fire, according to the report.
One of Myrick's friends, Shaun Davis, told NBC Bay Area on Thursday that Myrick had never mentioned Hlebo by name but had complained that some co-workers were not nice to him and weren't showing him the ropes.
Davis said Myrick previously worked in the parts department at the company's Santa Clara shop and had been transferred to the San Jose shop in the service department last week.
He said his longtime friend was "outgoing and friendly. Everybody liked him."
Hlebo allegedly told a family member he had "killed Myrick and disposed of his body in the ocean," according to the police report. In a jailhouse interview earlier this week, however, Hlebo adamantly denied that, saying he was innocent and had been set up by people who he suspected of drugging his coffee.
Until Thursday's devastating news, Myrick's loved ones held out hope. His mother, Kelly Sparry, was on the way to the vigil when she learned that her son's body had been found. Hundreds of people turned out at the Cambrian Park Plaza in San Jose to show their support for the family.
"All the love that has been shown the last few days for him, as his father has been overwhelming," Myrick's father, Bret, Myrick said at the vigil Thursday. "I did not realize how many people my son had touched."