Sheriff Jon Lopey said "promising investigative leads" have been developed, and anyone with information that could help investigators is asked to call the 24-hour Dispatch Center at (530) 841-2900.
The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office has made the determination that the death of Jesse Francis Ward, 62, of Happy Camp was a homicide.
Mr. Ward was found deceased on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017, partially submerged in the Klamath River near a residence on SR 96, west of SR 263.
The Sheriff’s Office reported the following in a Feb. 23 news release:
“The preliminary investigation has revealed that Mr. Ward was residing at the nearby residence at the time of his death. A SCSO deputy located the body, which resulted in an extensive investigation by SCSO’s Major Crimes’ Unit (MCU) and a member of the Siskiyou County District Attorney’s Office.
“The location is about 8 miles north of the Yreka city limits and is located in the unincorporated area of Siskiyou County. The body was recovered from the north bank area of the river by SCSO’s Dive Team and Water Safety Unit.
“The case was deemed suspicious due to a variety of factors and after an autopsy was conducted on Wednesday, February 22, 2017, SCSO detectives, in consultation with the county’s criminal pathologist, coupled with additional investigative information derived from their on-going investigation, conclusively determined the cause of death and manner of death. The cause of death is being withheld at this time to protect the integrity of the investigation. The manner of death was deemed a homicide, which is defined as the killing of a person by another.
“According to Sheriff Jon Lopey, ‘The death of Mr. Ward has been investigated as a homicide from the time his body was recovered, which has led to the development of some promising investigative leads. We still have a lot of work to do to solve this case and we ask that anyone with information about this case, or knowledge about Mr. Ward’s activities within the last two weeks and any leads about his associations or contacts with others within this time period to report the information to the SCSO Major Crimes’ Unit by calling our 24-hour Dispatch Center at (530) 841-2900. On behalf of the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office, I would again like to extend our sincere condolences and prayers to Mr. Ward, his family, friends, and associates.’”