Crime - Sacto 911

Butte sheriff’s officials seek to identify human remains found in 1998

Remnants of a T-shirt were found with human remains in Richvale in 1998.
Remnants of a T-shirt were found with human remains in Richvale in 1998. Butte County Sheriff’s Office

With recent completion of a clay facial reconstruction, the Butte County Sheriff's Office is attempting to identify the remains of a possible homicide victim discovered nearly 18 years ago.

On March 12, 1998, Butte County sheriff’s deputies responded to Richvale Highway and McRae Road in Richvale, where workers had found human remains in an irrigation ditch. The remains were recovered and later determined to belong to a Latino or Asian man, 28 to 42 years old and approximately 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.

Clothing found near the remains included what is described as a white 1984 L.A. Olympic Games T-shirt, a fleece sweater and blue tennis shoes.

Sheriff’s officials said the remains are believed to have been at the Richvale site for one to two years before the 1998 discovery, meaning that the man might have disappeared between 1996 and 1998. They said foul play is believed to have been involved, citing evidence of blunt force trauma to the right side of the skull.

DNA was collected from the remains and retained in the DNA database to be compared to family members or evidence for possible identification.

The Sheriff’s Office has had extensive testing and analysis conducted on the evidence and remains in the case, determining that the victim may have been of Asian, Latino or American Indian descent. Sheriff’s officials said the state Department of Justice recently completed a clay facial reconstruction based on the evidence and information gleaned from the testing and analysis.

The Sheriff’s Office released photos of the clay facial reconstruction, as well as of the T-shirt and portions of a shoe.

Anyone with information that might help identify the man or assist in the investigation is asked to call the Butte County Sheriff’s Office Tip Line at 530-538-7671.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy