Identity elusive for body found in Gualala River

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The CHP continues to investigate the death of a man whose body was found last week on a rock in the Gualala River down from remote Stewarts Point‑Skaggs Springs Road.

While authorities believe they know the man’s name, it hasn’t yet been verified due to complications from decomposition, Sonoma County sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Crum said Wednesday.

Coroner’s investigators will try to use dental records to confirm the man’s name but may need DNA testing, which would likely stall the verification for a few months, Crum said.

The body was spotted the night of June 5 and was guarded overnight until it could be recovered the next morning.

It remains unclear how the body got there. CHP officers are awaiting identification and looking into what happened and whether he could have been in a truck that crashed in the same area on May 27.

Driver Samuel Coria told officers he was the only person in the truck when it went off the rural roadway and tumbled down the embankment, landing on its roof in the river. Coria, 48, of Gualala was badly injured but got out of the crushed cab, made his way up the steep embankment and walked until a driver came along. He was hospitalized about one week.

The river at times parallels Stewarts Point-Skaggs Springs Road, which winds through rugged terrain for about 35 miles from Warm Springs Dam to the Sonoma Coast in the county’s northwest corner.

The crash occurred in an area near Annapolis Road where heavy rains in late February brought down a hillside and reduced the already narrow road to one lane.

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707‑521-5412 or randi.rossmann@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter@rossmannreport.

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