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Transient Found Dead In River
Oakdale Police Officers put up crime scene tape to prevent access to the river area where a dead body was found on Thursday, Aug. 6. MARG JACKSON/The Leader

Oakdale Police were investigating the case of a dead body found in the water at the Stanislaus River under the Yosemite Avenue Bridge on Thursday, Aug. 6.

Police received the call of an individual motionless face down in the river near the Cost Less Shopping Center around 2:15 p.m. Thursday. Responding officers attempted to give the individual, a male in his 60s, CPR to no avail. He was pronounced dead by emergency medical crews.

Oakdale Police Chief Lester Jenkins said witnesses who found the subject told investigators that the victim was a transient who lived at various locations along the river.

As officers were cordoning off the scene under the bridge, other homeless individuals and friends of the subject were providing comfort to one another.

Danny Gardner and Kim Haas said they knew the deceased subject by the name “Jeremiah.” Haas said she called police when she saw the victim in the water.

“We would just look after him because he was an old guy that lives down by the river,” Gardner said. “He comes and goes to different locations.”

Both Gardner and Haas said they saw “Jeremiah” at 11 a.m. that morning and he appeared drunk.

“And next thing, we find him dead,” Haas said.

“He was really drunk last night and kept falling in the water,” Gardner added.

Gardner said the victim didn’t have any enemies and was never a threat to anyone.

“He may get drunk and yell a lot, but he didn’t bother anyone,” Gardner said.

Police revealed that there was no indication of foul play at the scene or trauma to the body when it was found, but were initially treating the scene as a crime scene for the integrity of the investigation.

At 3:40 p.m. the Stanislaus County Coroner arrived and took away the body.

Police officials stated they had a possible name of the individual but were not releasing it until confirmation. The following day the coroner’s office identified the subject as Jerry Al Peters, 64, a transient from the area.

Anyone with information about this case should contact the Oakdale Police Department at (209) 847-2231.