Body found in shallow grave near Sonoma State University parking lot

Sheriff’s officials urged students and staff at Sonoma State University to use caution Thursday hours after a body was found in a shallow grave on campus.

The body was found just after noon Wednesday by a campus landscaper, who was clearing brush in the undeveloped area, said Sonoma County sheriff’s spokesman Spencer Crum.

“This would be concerning to everybody — to staff and students alike — and we would encourage them to use caution,” he said. “Take the precautions that are necessary.”

On Thursday, investigators cordoned off a three-acre area around a parking lot at the university as they worked to unearth the body.

“We don’t know if someone dug [a] hole or simply threw dirt on it. We will be out there this morning processing the scene,” Crum said in an email to The Times.

The area where the body was found is rugged and dense with trees and brush, Crum said.

“It’s fairly recent because of the lack of decomposition,” Crum told reporters Thursday afternoon.

The age, sex and cause of death of the body have yet to be determined.

“We want to make sure we collect all the evidence — every little fiber and hair that could possibly led us to a potential suspect,” he said.

No students, faculty or staff have been reported missing on campus, he said. But detectives were combing through missing-person reports at an area sheriff’s station.

Joseph.serna@latimes.com

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.

Times staff writer Veronica Rocha contributed to this article.

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UPDATES:

3:05 p.m.: This article was updated with sheriff’s deputies urging students and staff to use caution.

This article was originally published at 8:50 a.m.

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