The scene on Laurel Avenue in front of the Shropshire family home near North End Drive on the evening of Sunday, Nov. 22 as a suspicious death investigation begins. The identity of the deceased man was confirmed the following day. [Mountain Enterprise photo]
Homicide Detectives Now Say ‘No Struggle’ but ‘Suspicious Circumstances’
By Gary Meyer
A body found in the home of Carl J. and Martha P. Shropshire on Sunday, Nov. 22 was identified Monday as that of their son, Carl “Scotty” Shropshire, according to Kern County Sheriff’s Coroner John Van Rensselaer.
About 10 sheriff’s vehicles were clustered around the Laurel Avenue home in Frazier Park, surrounded by yellow tape, at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday.
According to Detective Sgt. Walt Reed, Frazier Park Substation Senior Deputy James Newell had been in contact with Scotty Shropshire regarding a case in Frazier Park which he said he could not name. The case was later revealed to involve criminal threats and Shropshire as a “person of interest,” according to Sgt. Mark Brown.
Sgt. Reed said Sr. Deputy Newell had gone to the home to speak with Shropshire, found no response and called to request that a family member enter the residence.
Sgt. Brown said that Newell became concerned because Shropshire was typically willing to speak with deputies and “never tried to hide” when they would arrive at the house. “He always came right to the door,” Brown said.
The family member arrived at approximately 4:30 p.m. and entered the home, immediately smelling a strong odor, according to Sgt. Reed. “He saw a deceased male inside the residence and came back outside,” said Reed.
Sgt. Reed said it was difficult to say how long the body had been there, but he guessed about two days. He said neighbors reported last seeing Shropshire about four days prior, which would have been Wednesday, Nov. 18.
On Sunday evening Sgt. Reed had described the scene as suspicious due to signs that a “struggle appeared to have occurred.”
On Tuesday morning, November 24 Sgt. Reed said they no longer believe a struggle took place. “We initially thought there may have been a struggle because the bedding was in disarray,” he said, but after examining the interior of the house detectives determined that there was no struggle.
Sgt. Reed said there were no signs of trauma to Shropshire’s body that could be observed at the scene. Asked whether circumstances at the scene were still considered suspicious, Reed answered, “There are still a few things that are suspicious.” He would not comment further about those elements of the investigation.
Shropshire was a former boyfriend of Alyce Coleman. Coleman was recently living with Jukka (pronounced ‘Yoo-Ka’) Hellsten, the man whose body was found in Cuddy Creek on November 3 after an alarming 911 call was placed about screaming in the creek on November 2. There are no facts that have been presented at this time linking Shropshire’s death with Hellsten’s death.
The Kern County Sheriff’s Coroner office performed an autopsy Tuesday afternoon and reported that “no evidence of any trauma was discovered at the time of autopsy,” confirming that rumors which have circulated throughout the community about a stabbing or other form of violent death are untrue. The cause and manner of death are pending and remain under investigation, according to the coroner.
See www.mountainenterprise.com for updates.
—Patric Hedlund and Pam Sturdevant assisted with this report
This is part of the November 27, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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