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Body found in canal is that of Chhinderpal Singh, 64

The Manteca Police Department confirmed Wednesday afternoon that the body discovered in the Delta Mendota Canal earlier this week was that of missing Manteca man Chhinderpal Singh. 

Singh, 64, was reported missing by his wife on Jan. 2. Authorities were able to recover his vehicle the following morning in Tracy near the same canal where his body was eventually discovered. While authorities initially reported that the circumstances surrounding his disappearance were “suspicious,” there were no signs of foul play. 

The case was initially picked by the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office, who promptly turned it over to the Manteca Police Department – the only agency in the area that had an open missing persons case involving an elderly Indian male. While Singh’s family confirmed on Tuesday when it was announced that the body had been recovered that it was in fact him, the Manteca Police waited until Wednesday when the San Joaquin County Coroner officially confirmed his identity through dental records. 

The determination of the cause and manner of death – both of which will be made by the San Joaquin County Coroner’s Office – is still pending, and no information about a timetable for its release was available. 

An extensive search earlier this month between the Manteca Police Department and other law enforcement agencies – including the California Highway Patrol, who provided a helicopter – did not lead to the discovery of Singh’s body. During the initial search, which included rescue and recovery divers and covered more than 20 miles of shoreline along the canal, the Manteca Police used a drone to help provide aerial imaging. 

The Singh case is the second involving a Manteca resident that was discovered in the canal in the last five years. Muhammad Rashid, 30, went missing back on Sept. 27, 2014 after leaving his second job as a security guard in rural Tracy. While Rashid called his wife and his mother to tell them that he was going to be coming home, he never arrived, and his body was discovered several days later. Unlike Singh, Rashid’s vehicle was discovered in the canal, and investigators believe that he tried to escape the vehicle once it went into the water. 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.