Stephen Ellison

Man's Body Found in Shallow Grave on Sonoma State Campus: Sheriff's Officials

A landscaper doing work found a man's body in a shallow grave Wednesday afternoon near the parking lot of Sonoma State University, Sonoma County sheriff's detectives said.

The man's remains were found about noon in rugged brush near a university parking lot. On Thursday, crews in white jump suits combed the wooded area, looking for evidence near the body, whose hair was showing a bit from the dirt.

At a news conference Thursday, Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Crum said the death appeared to be "fairly recent." Officials have not been able to identify the man or confirm how he may have gotten there.

Bob Redell/NBC Bay Area
Sonoma County Sherrif Crime Scene Investigation Unit investigates a body found in a shallow grave on campus. (Nov. 3, 2016)

Officers said Thursday that they will be taking the man's body to the morgue, and the coroner hopes to perform an autopsy later tonight.

The rare death in that area stunned and frightened Sonoma state criminology student Destiny Ortega. "As a woman, I'm terrified," she told NBC Bay Area. "Maybe I won't park on this side of the parking lot at night anymore."

Parking lot M, on the northwest end of campus, was closed off during the investigation. The college still is in session, but other students also described feeling uncomfortable after the gruesome discovery.

"I think it's just really sad that we don't know who it is," Noema Aguilar said. "It could have been any one of us, I think."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Sonoma County sheriff’s detectives on Wednesday responded to a report of a body found in a shallow grave on the campus of Sonoma State University, sheriff’s officials said. Bob Redell reports.
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