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Body Found in Corona Grove Is Identified

A body found partially buried in a lemon grove has been identified as that of Jose Antonio Rivera, 30, a Los Angeles mechanic last seen by his wife on Christmas morning, police said Friday.

Rivera’s wife, Maria, had reported him missing to the Los Angeles Police Department on Jan. 6, said Corona Police Sgt. Roger Brabant. “She last saw her husband on Christmas morning, 1985, when he left their residence to visit a friend.”

The partially decomposed body was found March 26 by a group of five people having a party in a lemon grove in the south Corona agricultural greenbelt, said Lt. Bob Martin, commander of detectives.

Corona police sent a bulletin to other area law-enforcement agencies, and investigators in Los Angeles recognized the description of the body as that of Rivera. The clothing, jewelry and a preliminary examination of dental work matched Maria Rivera’s description of her husband.

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An autopsy revealed that Rivera had been strangled, but police have found no apparent motive and no suspects. Rivera’s body had been in the crude, shallow grave for two or three months, estimated Jim Camp, Riverside County deputy coroner.

Los Angeles police detectives declined to comment on the case.


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