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Authorities identify man's body found in car trunk near SSU

Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 9:10 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 12:58 p.m.

Three days before he was found dead in the trunk of a car abandoned next to Sonoma State University, a Santa Rosa man was suspected of confronting a former girlfriend and injuring her, authorities said Tuesday.

Police were looking for Sean Francis Parker to question him about the assault when a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy found his body Monday night wrapped in a blanket in the unlocked trunk of the car along Petaluma Hill Road, Sheriff's Lt. Dennis O'Leary said.

Parker, 31, was identified Tuesday as a medical examiner completed an autopsy. The results of the autopsy were not released, although the evidence clearly pointed to homicide, O'Leary said.

Any connection between Parker's death and the domestic violence case was unclear Tuesday, O'Leary said. Detectives interviewed the woman, he said.

"We just don't have any information pointing in that direction," O'Leary said.

Parker, who also had an address in Vallejo, had a pending misdemeanor domestic battery case in Sonoma County stemming from a Nov. 6 incident, court records show. O'Leary said he believed the case involved a different woman.

Parker was found in the trunk of a car that apparently was shared by several people, including Parker and his former girlfriend, O'Leary said. It wasn't clear who owns the car.

But the car may prove key to uncovering who left Parker in the trunk in a no-parking zone on Petaluma Hill Road along Sonoma State University's eastern edge.

"We are processing the vehicle and we're hoping that there will be evidence that can tell us who drove the car there," O'Leary said.

Investigators are testing blood found inside the car that could match the former girlfriend, Parker or lead to someone else, O'Leary said.

It's unclear how long the car was parked on the western shoulder of the road. Witnesses reported seeing it as early as noon or 1 p.m. Saturday, O'Leary said.

A deputy patrolling the area made the gruesome find at about 6:30 p.m. Monday.

The deputy asked dispatchers to check the license plate. The check showed a Santa Rosa police "stop and hold" alert for the car and for Parker, who was wanted for questioning in connection with the domestic violence case.

At about 9:45 p.m. Friday, a woman reported being assaulted in Santa Rosa by Parker, whom she dated in the past, Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Dave Linscomb said.

The woman had a laceration on her elbow and a rip in her clothing, O'Leary said. Her name was withheld by investigators because she was a victim of alleged domestic violence.

Anyone with information about the case can call the Sheriff's Office violent crimes unit at 565-2185.

You can reach Randi Rossmann at 521-5412 or randi.rossmann@pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Julie Johnson at 521-5220 or julie.johnson@pressdemocrat.com.

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