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Sunday, 29 October 2006 23:34

Search For Deputy Killer Continues…Van Found In Cosumnes River Near Plymouth Unrelated

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PictureInvestigators continued to search for the killer of a Sacramento sheriff's deputy, ruling out a link to the deaths of two people found in a van in the Cosumnes River near the Amador County line. The investigation closed Hwy 49 for several hours Friday afternoon and evening. Evidence collected from the white Chevy van which was driven into the river in about one foot of water partially does not appear to tie the couple to the killing of Deputy Jeff Mitchell, said Sgt. Tim Curran, a spokesman for the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department. "Those two have virtually been eliminated from involvement," Curran said Sunday. 

PictureEl Dorado County authorities Saturday positively identified the bodies of the man and woman found inside the white Chevrolet van. El Dorado County Sheriff's Lt. Kevin House said authorities could not release details of Saturday's autopsies of 43-year-old Allan Schubert of Sacramento and 28-year-old Nicole Welch of North Highlands but said coroners believe their deaths were "not suspicious." Authorities confirmed Friday evening that the bodies showed no outward signs of trauma and may have died from carbon monoxide poisoning when the tailpipe of the van was submerged under water as the pair tried to cross the river. Sacramento County Sheriff's investigators on the hunt for whoever killed Deputy Jeff Mitchell, however, believe the gunman suffered injuries to his face and hands.

PictureIt appears that the injuries are the result of a violent struggle between Mitchell and his attacker. "Significant evidence of trauma on the officer's person that would suggest that his adversary would've had similar trauma," said Sacramento Sheriff John McGinness at a press conference on Sunday. McGinness is now urging the public think about appearance and behavior while on the lookout for the gunman. "Anybody who may have displayed unusual behavior -- anybody who may display physical evidence of injury that may have been received as a result a physical altercation," said McGinness.

Mitchell, 38, was shot in the head during a traffic stop at about 3:30 a.m. Friday near the rural community of Sloughhouse in eastern Sacramento County. Mitchell reported he was checking on a white Chevrolet van without a license plate near an intersection south of Jackson Highway. Minutes later, he was found on the road shot in the head, authorities said. If you have any information you are asked to call 916-471-1700 or 916-874-6500.

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