UPDATE: Body found in search for victim of suspected homicide, recovered at Nevada City property
Special to the Sierra Sun
Update 8:32 a.m.:
Investigators say they’ve located the remains of a man on a Nevada City property, where they had been looking for the body of a homicide victim since Thursday.
On Thursday, the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office arrested Russell Rippetoe, 57, at an address on the 26000 block of North Bloomfield Road. Rippetoe was arrested for the suspected homicide of an unidentified man, but the victim’s body had not been found at the time of the arrest, authorities said.
Investigators conducted an extensive search of the North Bloomfield Road property, and were able to locate a body around 5 p.m. Saturday, according to sheriff’s Lt. Sean Scales.
It has not been confirmed that the remains are those of the alleged homicide victim, Scales said, as authorities are awaiting the results of an autospy that will definitively identify the body.
While declining to comment as to the specific condition of the recovered remains, Scales said the body’s condition corresponds to the timeline in which authorities believe the victim was killed and buried by Rippetoe.
The Sheriff’s Office received a tip Thursday, with information that Rippetoe had killed another man at the North Bloomfield Road address after an argument between the two had escalated. No further information regarding the tip was provided, but authorities said they had reason to believe the body was located somewhere at the property where they arrested Rippetoe.
On Saturday investigators excavated the body from the ground where it had been buried somewhat recently, Scales said. Authorities identified an area where it appeared someone had recently been digging, and these suspicions were confirmed as the body was later found to be buried in the ground beneath this suspected dig site, Scales said.
The Sheriff’s Office received help in locating and recovering the body from a Chico State forensics anthropology team, as well as from an equipment operator with Nevada County Public Works, Scales added.
Nevada County authorities are investigating two homicides, both of which were reported in Nevada City within 48 hours of each other.
Investigators say they continued searching Friday for the body of a man they believe was killed by Russell Rippetoe, 57.
Rippetoe was arrested late Thursday on suspicion of homicide. He remained jailed Friday afternoon without bond, reports state.
The body is believed to be located somewhere around the property Rippetoe was arrested at on the 26000 block of North Bloomfield Road. Nevada County sheriff’s deputies are searching the premises with assistance from the California Department of Justice and other local agencies, a Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said.
In a separate investigation, authorities continue to investigate a slaying on the 13000 block of Bodie Ridge Road. At this residence, deputies found a deceased male who died from multiple gunshot wounds. This man remains unnamed by officials, but has been reported to be a citizen of the United Kingdom, and local authorities are in touch with officials at the UK consulate, according to sheriff’s Capt. Jeff Pettitt.
The alleged suspect in this case, who has not been named, is also believed to have shot a public works employee in Eureka County, Nevada, before dying from gunshot wounds following a vehicle pursuit by police. It is not clear yet whether the alleged shooter was killed by police or took his own life, reports state.
In a video posted Friday afternoon to the department’s Facebook page, Eureka County Sheriff Jesse Watts said his office would not release any information regarding the shooter, his motive, or the link to the Nevada City homicide until Monday.
No motives have been ascribed to either of the homicide suspects, except that Rippetoe is believed to have killed the other man after an argument between the two had escalated, according to sheriff’s Lt. Sean Scales.
Stephen Wyer is a staff writer with The Union, a sister publication of the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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