The investigation began after 9-1-1 dispatchers received a call around 2:45 p.m. Sunday from two hikers who spotted a person on the ground near Union Pacific tracks in the canyon west of the intersection of Highway 84 and Palomares Road (between Sunol and Fremont), according to Kelly.
The death was soon deemed suspicious, and Kelly confirmed Monday the case was a homicide. Investigators are not releasing the precise cause of death at this time.
It's clear the man died recently, but the exact timeline -- among other key details -- remains unknown. "We have a lot of work to do on this case to figure out what happened," Kelly said.
The location of the body would have been visible from trains traveling on the tracks, a route used mainly for commuter trains, the sergeant added.
Anyone with information related to the incident or who may have noticed something suspicious in the area in recent days can call the sheriff's office at 510-667-7721.
In other news
* A judge Friday ordered an Alameda County sheriff's deputy to stand trial on charges of assault by a public officer and assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury for allegedly facilitating the assault of an inmate at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin last October.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Rogers issued his ruling at the end of a short preliminary hearing for Joseph Bailey, a 29-year-old Tracy resident, finding that prosecutors produced sufficient evidence to have him face a jury.
Bailey, who has been with the sheriff's office for three years, has been placed on administrative leave since last year when authorities began investigating the case. He remains free on $65,000 bail and is scheduled to return to court in two weeks to have a trial date set.
Sheriff's officials said detectives interviewed about 25 people, including employees of the sheriff's office and inmates, some who were released after the Oct. 24 incident in which Bailey allegedly allowed a small group of inmates to assault another inmate in a minimum-security area.
Tensions arose between Bailey and the inmate who's the alleged victim when the man was moved into a minimum security unit at Santa Rita on Oct. 24 and refused to participate in a custodial strip search which is required by policy, sheriff's Sgt. Kevin Estep wrote in a probable cause statement.
The inmate eventually cooperated with the strip search but before Bailey escorted him to his cell, he spoke to several inmates in that unit about the man's "behavior and demeanor," Estep said.
About 90 minutes later, at about 11:40 p.m. on Oct. 24, a deputy who responded to the man's cell after he was alerted by another inmate noticed that the alleged victim "was bleeding and had several injuries consistent with being physically attacked," such as having a swollen eye, a fractured nose, lacerations to his bottom lip, above his left eye and forehead which required him to be transported to an area hospital for medical treatment, Estep wrote.
Before he was hospitalized, the inmate identified several inmates as the people who "punched and kicked him repeatedly" and told the deputy who investigated the incident that he believed he was attacked because he has family members who are affiliated with a gang that's a rival of the gang that the other inmates are associated with, according to Estep.
The deputy who investigated the incident said Bailey told him, "I told those six guys to take care of him (the inmate victim) and make it look like he fell in the shower" but said he did not want the victim to get beat up that badly, Estep wrote.
Bailey made a voluntary statement in the presence of his lawyer on Nov. 22 in which he acknowledged that he spoke with other inmates before placing the alleged victim in their pod, Estep said.
But Bailey denied telling the other inmates to physically attack the victim and said "his intention was to have the inmates assist the victim," Estep said.
* A liquid nitrogen tank falling from a truck prompted a precautionary evacuation of two buildings at Thermo Fisher Scientific offices in Pleasanton on Friday afternoon, according to a Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department spokesman.
LPFD personnel arrived at the Thermo Fisher complex on Sunol Boulevard around 3:15 p.m. Friday after receiving a report of a hazardous materials spill, according to deputy chief Joe Testa.
Upon arrival, first responders found a 260-liter liquid nitrogen tank had fallen from a truck onto one of Thermo Fisher's private roadways, Testa said.
Fire personnel were initially concerned of the tank's potential for explosion so the two buildings closest to the tank were evacuated as a precaution, Testa said. They soon found the tank was venting a little bit, showing that the pressure relief valve was working as designed and alleviating the explosion risk.
The tank vented for about an hour before stopping, Testa said. Fire crews were still on scene around 5:30 p.m. to monitor the situation.
There were no injuries or property damage, other than the tank. There was no public risk due to the liquid nitrogen itself because it's a non-toxic material, Testa said.
* The Alameda County Sheriff's Office hosted its final "Urban Shield" first-responder training exercise in its current format last weekend.
The sheriff's office launched Urban Shield in 2007, following the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, which sheriff's officials said showed that law enforcement agencies weren't well prepared for such attacks.
More than 100 agencies and thousands of people, including some from foreign countries, have participated in past conferences.
But the Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to end the training exercise in its current format at a meeting on March 27 at which the vast majority of more than 100 speakers alleged that it is militaristic, racist and xenophobic and has a negative impact on communities of color and immigrants.
The board called for the exercise's format in 2019 and future years to focus more on training for natural disasters and less on terrorism and on weapons vendors.
Sheriff's officials say the purpose of the conference is to train law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics on how to respond to natural disasters as well as manmade disasters such as explosions and mass shootings.
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