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Gorman Body ID'ed, Renews Santa Clarita Valley Murder Investigation

Gorman Body ID’ed, Renews Santa Clarita Valley Murder Investigation

While coroners are still working to determine the cause of death, a Los Angeles man believed to have been murdered and then dumped in Gorman was identified by Sheriff’s Department officials Monday.

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Homicide detectives are still investigating the situation as a murder. Ricardo Lopez, 32, of Los Angeles, is believed to have been shot in the head, perhaps as many as three years before fragments of his skeleton were identified July 15.

Related: Coroner IDs Murder Victim In Gorman, Seeks Family Members

Lopez, who lived in an area of Los Angeles known as Athens, near Imperial Boulevard and Vermont Avenue, was found with what detectives suspect was a gunshot in his skull.

The body was identified initially by circumstantial evidence, according to a coroner’s official, an identifications later confirmed.

“There’s evidence that it was a homicide by gunshot,” said Detective Shonka for the Homicide Bureau of the Sheriff’s Department. “He was last seen by his family on Feb 6. 2011, and he was reported missing Feb. 9.”

The body was found in March near a drainage ditch off Ridge Route Road and Highway 138, but detectives quickly determined the remains were part of a crime scene, and the victim was not killed in the Pine Fire, which burned about 150 acres of Gorman in March.  

“It appears to be a gunshot wound to the skull,” Shonka said, “however, there’s no report from the Coroner’s Office to substantiate that so we’re investigating.”

Detectives also are seeking help in finding a 2003 gold-colored Ford Focus they believe will help provide more information for their investigation.

Related: Possible Gorman Murder Investigated By Sheriff’s Department Detectives

No new leads have been reported through the Nixle service, which is used by the Sheriff’s Department to send out crime alerts and community messages.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.

If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), or texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or by using the website.

Do you have a news tip? Call us at (661) 298-1220, or drop us a line at

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Source: Santa Clarita News

Gorman Body ID’ed, Renews Santa Clarita Valley Murder Investigation

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About Perry Smith

Perry Smith is a print and broadcast journalist who has won several awards for his focused, hyperlocal community coverage in several different regions of the country. In addition to five years of experience covering the Santa Clarita Valley, Smith, a San Fernando Valley native, has worked in newspapers and news websites in Los Angeles, the Northwest, the Central Valley and the South, before coming to KHTS in 2012. To contact Smith, email him at