Investigators have identified a body found in a shallow grave on the Sonoma State University campus as a missing 18-year-old man who lived nearby and hasn’t been seen for two weeks.
The body of Cotati resident Kirk Kimberly was unearthed by a university landscaper Wednesday afternoon in an undeveloped, wooded area about 200 yards west of parking lot “M,” Sonoma County sheriff’s officials said on Facebook.
“The pathologist was … able to determine the preliminary manner of death to be at the hands of another, therefore we are now considering this to be a homicide investigation,” the department said.
No details about the cause of death were released. Kimberly had been missing since Oct. 17, officials said. School officials said Kimberly was not a student.
“This would be concerning to everybody — to staff and students alike — and we would encourage them to use caution,” sheriff’s spokesman Spencer Crum said. “Take the precautions that are necessary.”
On Thursday, after securing the crime scene overnight, 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” the body, Crum told The Times in an email.
The area where the body was found is rugged and dense with trees and brush.
“We want to make sure we collect all the evidence — every little fiber and hair that could possibly lead us to a potential suspect,” he said.
No arrests have been made.
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8:40 a.m.: This article was updated with school officials saying Kimberly was not a student
This article was originally published at 7:55 a.m.