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Identification found near body on McNear Peninsula

Published: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 4:32 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 4:32 p.m.

The identity of a badly decomposed body found early Friday morning on McNear Peninsula remained a mystery as of Wednesday morning, though police did confirm that the victim was an adult female.

“We found some identification nearby but haven't been able to connect it to the body yet,” Police Lt. Tim Lyons said Tuesday. Lyons said dental records will help make a positive identification once the victim's dentist can be located.

Police are saying nothing about the ethnicity or specific age of the person until identification is established. Police investigated the area where the body was found and, so far “there is nothing to indicate foul play,” Lyons said.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Coroner's Office said it could take up to eight months to provide a report.

The body was reported by a passing boater at 1:45 a.m. Friday, and was found by police 45 minutes later. It had evidently been there for many weeks.

It was found in a fenced, grassy field adjacent to Steamer Landing Park, on an undeveloped and privately owned parcel that is only accessible through the park or by boat. It's part of the larger, 30-acre McNear Peninsula. Despite jutting into the Petaluma River at the heart of Petaluma's downtown, the parcel has seen little activity in recent years.

The city has been trying to acquire the entire peninsula as parkland since at least 2006, but has been unable to come to terms with the owners, a family trust held by original McNear family members, according to City Councilman Mike Healy.

A smaller lot at the tip of the spit of land is held by another private party, Petaluma Riverfront LLC, according to Pam Tuft of the city's public works department.

The county's open space district provided funding for the city to acquire 10 acres of the McNears' river property in 1996, including the area dedicated to the two-acre pocket park that now includes the David Yearsley River Heritage Center.

Police are asking anyone with information about the body found on the property to call the Petaluma Police Department at 778-4372, or, if they wish to remain anonymous, to call the tip line at 781-1200 or email ppdtips@ci.petaluma.ca.us.

(Contact Jay Gamel at argus@arguscourier.com.)

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