Body found in car on I-80 |

Body found in car on I-80

A chain installer discovered the body of a deceased man inside a vehicle Sunday on Interstate 80 near Alta.

Stephen Gordon Buffum, 37, of West Sacramento was found dead inside his vehicle when a chain installer noticed the man’s vehicle had been stopped for a few hours in the chain-up area on the eastbound side of the interstate, according to the Placer County Sheriff’s Department.

The unidentified installer knocked on the window and received no response. He reportedly opened the car door and found Buffum dead, alone in the vehicle.

“It appears he died of natural causes,” said Dena Erwin, Placer County Sheriff’s spokeswoman. “The autopsy is still pending.”

No further information was available as to where Buffum was headed or why his vehicle was parked on Interstate 80, Erwin said.

Also in Alta, search and rescue efforts for a 44-year-old woman missing in the area since Jan. 16 have been scaled back, Erwin said.

Mary Alice Helm went missing from a home in the Kearsage Mill Court area near the Drum Forebay exit off Interstate 80.

According to a press release from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, Helm is 5-feet-4-inches tall, weighs about 160 pounds, and has brown hair and eyes. Helm is dependent on medication.

Anyone who may have seen or had contact with Helm is asked to contact the Placer County Sheriff’s Department at 889-7800.

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