Hilmar homicide victim identified

A man shot dead a week ago in Hilmar has been identified.

Orlando Yepez, 21, also known as Orlando Yedez and Orlando Valencia, was found about 12:45 a.m. Aug. 1 inside a home in the 7800 block of Kates Court in Hilmar, the Merced County Coroner’s Office confirmed this week.

No other injuries were reported. No arrests have been made.

Investigators are looking into the possibility the homicide is drug-related, but the incident is not believed to involve gang activity, the Merced County Sheriff’s Department has said.

Detectives have declined to elaborate on possible motives and to release certain details of the attack, saying commenting on specifics could harm the investigation. Deputies said it remains unclear if there may be ties to higher-level trafficking organizations.

Investigators believe “multiple people” may have been involved in the incident that left Yepez dead.

No suspect descriptions have been released.

The death marked the 18th homicide of 2014 in Merced County. Deputies are hoping for help from the public to identify those responsible for the fatal shooting.