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Body found in canal may be missing Mantecan

The Manteca Police Department is currently working with the San Joaquin County Coroner’s Office to determine if the body of an elderly male that was discovered Monday in the Delta Mendota Canal near Patterson is that of 64-year-old Chhinderpal Singh. 

Singh, a Manteca resident, was reported missing by his wife on Jan. 2. Authorities discovered his vehicle abandoned near the canal in rural Tracy the following day, and Manteca authorities initially reported the circumstances surrounding his disappearance as “suspicious” but have since backed off on that claim – noting publicly on Tuesday that there were no signs of foul play or a physical struggle in or around the missing vehicle, and no signs of physical trauma were found on the body. 

The case was initially picked up by the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office, who then turned it over to the Manteca Police Department because there were no other local cases involving a missing Indian male. According to reports, the Manteca Police Department is holding off on announcing that the body is that of Singh until a positive identification comes back from the coroner’s office. 

The Manteca Police were involved in a multi-jurisdictional search earlier this month when Singh’s vehicle was found near the canal, launching a drone to survey upwards of 20 miles of the canal to try and locate the missing man. Both the California Highway Patrol, who provided a helicopter, and rescue and recovery divers, were involved in the search. 

The Singh case is eerily reminiscent to that of another former Manteca resident, Muhammad Rashid, 30, who 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.