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Authorities seek answers to body found near Gualala

Mendocino County authorities are investigating the cause of death of a man found Sunday floating in the ocean near Gualala.

An autopsy was underway Tuesday and a forensic odontologist was scheduled on Wednesday to compare the dead man's teeth with the dental records of two missing men , said Sheriff's Capt. Greg Van Patten.

One is a Sacramento-area developer last seen checking out of a Fort Bragg motel Nov. 3, he said.

Friends of Stephen Pease, 57, an owner of a Sammy Hagar-themed restaurant in Roseville, conducted a fruitless search of the Mendocino Coast, according to Sacramento-area news reports.

The other missing person being considered is Los Angeles-area resident Erik Lamberg, 51, last seen in Laytonville May 27. Because he's been missing so long, Lamberg is a lesser possibility, Van Patten said.

The body appeared to have been in the water a matter of days and perhaps a week, he said. The only clothing was one shoe and one sock.

The results of the forensic dental exams could be available as early as Wednesday afternoon, he said. The autopsy results could take longer because the body was in poor condition, Van Patten said.

"There was nothing obvious on the body," he said.

Recreational divers found the corpse in the ocean below cliffs just after noon Sunday, Van Patten said.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's helicopter, Henry 1, assisted in retrieving the body. Members of the South Coast Volunteer Fire Department, the CHP, and Fish and Game also assisted with the recovery, Van Patten said.


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