BREAKING: Body found inside car behind Valle Vista shopping center

UPDATED: Sunday, May 19, 3:40 p.m.

VALLE VISTA — Sheriff’s officials have confirmed that a “suspicious death” investigation is underway in Valle Vista, after a man’s body was found in a sedan parked behind a Stater Bros and Dollar Tree, northeast of E. Florida and New Chicago avenues and west of Ramona Expressway.

According to witnesses at the scene, the victim’s lifeless and bloody body was found laying across the back seat of a white Hyundai Elantra, which was parked near one of the stores’ loading docks.

“This morning, at 9:19 a.m., deputies responded to the report of a deceased male in the rear of a business in the area of New Chicago and Florida Ave.,” Riverside Sheriff’s spokesperson Deputy Robyn Flores told RCNS in an email response to a request for further information and details related to the ongoing investigation.

“Investigators are on scene investigating this as a suspicious death,” Flores continued. “At this time there are no additional releasable details.”

This is a developing story that will be updated as new information is available.


VALLE VISTA — Details are beginning to emerge after a man’s lifeless body was found inside a car parked behind a Valle Vista shopping center this morning, Sunday, May 19. Sources at the scene indicate officials are investigating the discovery as a possible homicide or suspicious death and deputies, investigators, and others at the scene are reportedly awaiting the arrival of Forensic Services technicians and coroner officials.

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As of this initial report, the area near the loading docks behind Stater Bros and Dollar Tree, located northeast of E. Florida and New Chicago avenues and west of Ramona Expressway, remains cordoned off with crime scene tape and numerous sheriff’s officials are continuing their initial on-scene investigation.

Much of the official activity behind the shopping center is centered around a white Hyundai Accent, which was found with its driver’s side rear door open. Officials have set up an EZ-Up over the sedan to protect the potential crime scene from rain, which is expected to continue throughout the day.

Officials remain at the scene where a man’s body was reportedly found inside a white sedan parked behind a Valle Vista shopping center this morning. Gary Rainwater photo

According to numerous witnesses at the scene, including a man who said the victim was his neighbor, the victim is believed to be an older white male, who possibly sleeps inside his vehicle and was recently diagnosed with cancer.

One witness, who was at the scene before the arrival of law enforcement officials, said the victim was found laying across the back seat of the sedan and that blood was visible on and around the man’s head and neck. According to that and other witnesses, a dog found inside the vehicle with the victim’s body was picked up by animal control officials.

Witnesses also reported that at least one person, who had been at the scene with a bicycle and possibly discovered the victim’s body, was taken to the Hemet Sheriff’s Station for questioning. It was not known if the person was being questioned as a witness or possible suspect.

At around 1:45 p.m., Riverside Sheriff’s spokesperson Deputy Robyn Flores confirmed to RCNS that an investigation is underway; however she was unable to immediately provide any other details, saying more information would be released shortly.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is encouraged to contact Riverside County Sheriff’s Hemet/Valle Vista Station at (951) 791-3400. Callers can remain anonymous.

This is a developing story that will be updated as new information is available.

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Gary Rainwater video
Miguel Shannon/Epicenter News video

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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