SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY (CBS13) – What first appeared to be a car crash has turned into a homicide investigation in San Joaquin County after a young Modesto woman’s body was found on New Year’s Day.

Sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Les Garcia told CBS13 on Thursday that the victim has been identified as 23-year-old Lynette Lena Garza of Modesto. Her cause of death is pending an autopsy and toxicology results.

The California Highway Patrol responded to a report of a crash at 3:40 a.m. Jan. 1 in the 25800 block of River Road south of Escalon.

They found the woman’s body about 60 feet away from the abandoned vehicle, down an embankment.

Noting “severe trauma” on the body, the CHP called in the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office and homicide detectives took over the case.

Garcia said Thursday he’s not aware of anyone reporting Garza missing.

The murder is shaking up the small Escalon community surrounded by farmland, orchards, and quiet.

An unsolved homicide now has some on the lookout.

“I hope they find out who did it and that’s its not linked to anybody local around here,” neighbor Tony Williams said.

“Yeah, surprised me. This area here is very quiet,” Gerald Patino said.

“It’s kind of weird,” Javi Munoz said. “This stuff never happens around here.”


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