Decomposed body discovered behind Costa Mesa business, CHP investigating

CHP reported a body was discovered Sunday behind a business on Costa Mesa's Bristol Street.
CHP reported a body was discovered early Sunday behind a business on Costa Mesa’s Bristol Street, near an embankment located near the 55 Freeway interchange.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

California Highway Patrol officers are conducting a death investigation, after the body of an unidentified man was discovered Sunday morning behind a Costa Mesa business near the 55 Freeway interchange, a department spokesman confirmed Monday.

Officer Anselmo Templado said a man encountered the body shortly before 6 a.m. Sunday on an embankment behind a business on the 2700 block of Bristol Street and contacted Costa Mesa Police.

Because the site where the body was discovered abuts an interchange between the 73 Freeway and the 55 Freeway and, as such, is owned by Caltrans, CMPD officials reached out to CHP, which has jurisdiction of that area.

“Our officers observed a body, a decomposed male body, lying against a fence line,” Templado said Monday. “Officers did a search of the surrounding area — there were no signs of foul play. There were no signs of trauma or self-inflicted wound.”

The initial reporting party was a transient man who’d been collecting cans and recyclables behind local dog boarding, daycare and swim club Bone Adventure, Inc., when he saw the body. He told police the general area is one frequented by unhoused individuals.

Anselmo said that, based on the state of decomposition, coroner’s officials estimate the individual may have been dead for about nine to 12 days before being found. An exact cause of death is pending the results of an autopsy, he added.

Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Scott Steinle said Monday that because the body had lain undiscovered for quite some time, coroner’s officials were “having an extremely difficult time identifying him” for the purpose of notifying his next of kin.

Steinle said it is believed the unidentified man may have been homeless at the time of his death.

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