Fresno Police investigating first canal death of the season

Investigators treating the case as a suspicious death

Fresno, California - The Fresno Police Department is investigating the first canal death of the year. Investigators are treating the death as suspicious.

The body was discovered in a canal near Dayton and Maroa just before 5:30 Friday evening. A man was collecting cans and bottles along the canal when he spotted a hand sticking out of the water. How the person died remains a mystery, but recovering the body was a dangerous mission for the fire department. 

"We don't have any information at this point that's why we are handling this as a suspicious death," said Lt. Jennifer Horsford of the Fresno Police Department.

First responders immediately began their suspicious death investigation taking pictures and speaking with nearby residents and witnesses.

"All of that is considered evidence that we will want to have if this turns out to be something other than a possible drowning," said Horsford.

Recovering the body was a dangerous task for Fresno Fire Department crews, as cold deep water continued to rush through the canal. 

"With something like this the temperature is part of the issue, but the primary issue is the speed of the water itself," said Fresno Fire Department Battalion Chief Brian Price. 

Rescue crews slowly and carefully navigated the canal to remove the body as investigators looked on. This is the first canal death of the season for the Fresno Fire Department. Rescue team leaders hope people will recognize the dangers as warmer weather arrives. 

"This water may look refreshing, it may look great. It is incredibly dangerous. Even when we get into this water for training purposes we take an enormous amount of precautions," said Price.  

The coroner is expected to identify the victim sometime tomorrow as police continue their investigation. If you have any information you can always remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 498-STOP. 

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