It has been more than seven months since vagrants discovered the body of Kelly Marelich in a dumpster behind a dental suite on South. Main Street.
And officials still haven’t said how she died.
In what is still considered an “open” investigation, the San Joaquin County Coroner’s Office is still awaiting a “supervisor’s signature” before the report that details how the 22-year-old perished can be presented to the public. A segment on the coroner’s website – an entity that is affiliated with the San Joaquin County Sheriff but operates independently – explains how sometimes it can take months before a decision actually comes in.
Manteca Police detectives had several leads in the week after she was discovered. A high-tech crime analysis unit mapped a room at a Moffat Boulevard motel where it was believed that she could have been staying at the night of her death.
Nothing publicly ever came out of that portion of the investigation. Police have been tight-lipped about the case that was almost immediately ruled a homicide.
But other cases – like a vagrant that was found deceased behind a cluster of buildings near downtown earlier this summer – haven’t taken nearly as long to get the stamp of approval on the cause of death from the coroner.
After detectives processed the scene and the coroner took possession of the body, roughly 24 hours passed before officers had word that foul play had been ruled out and he had died of natural causes.
Marelich’s father has been working with detectives but her mother, who lives in Manteca, said that even if investigators truly do understand what led to the death of her daughter, she doesn’t ever want to know.
“I want to picture her a certain way,” she said. “I don’t want anything to change that.”