After a jogger found the body of a man on the shore near Bodega Bay Monday, officials are working to identify the remains but say a determination won't come quickly.
According to Sonoma County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Sergeant Cecile Focha, a jogger called 911 at around 8:15 Monday morning, when he spotted the body on the shoreline south of Salmon Creek, an unincorporated area in Sonoma County.
The remains were "badly decomposed," Focha said, making it difficult to immediately identify the deceased.
Focha said that it was possible that the body belonged to missing Santa Rosa lawyer Steven Mitchell, who was known to be in that same general area on February 13, the day he disappeared. The search for the 56-year-old Mitchell, who recently made headlines as the defense attorney for a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy who fatally shot 13-year-old Andy Lopez as he carried a toy gun, was suspended on February 16 after a suicide note he was believed to have written was discovered.
Focha warns against jumping to conclusions, however, noting that several other men have disappeared from the Bay Area in recent months, including Alameda man John Beck.
According to Focha, we should know more after the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department Coroner Unit completes a full forensic investigation, which should also help determine the approximate date and manner of death.
Due to the amount of decomposition, Focha says, it could take weeks for the final report, as "the body had been in the water for some time."