This tunnel under Highway 126 leads to where the body of a woman was discovered Wednesday morning

Woman’s body found in agricultural field on outskirts of Santa Paula

October 11, 2013
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly 

Santa Paula Times

Agricultural workers plowing a field southwest of Santa Paula Wednesday morning found the body of an area woman whose death is being investigated as suspicious, although not necessarily a result of a homicide.

According to Santa Paula Police Lt. Ishmael Cordero, the Hispanic woman is in her 40s and an area transient known to police. Her name cannot be released until her next of kin are notified of her death. 

Two farmworkers found the body at about 10 a.m. in a drainage canal beside the field in the 1000 block of Todd Lane, an area west of Kmart-fronting Faulkner Road and a strip mall and south of Highway 126, where a narrow access road passes under the freeway.

The access to the rural Todd Lane was blocked on the north side of the highway by numerous SPPD patrol vehicles until late Wednesday afternoon as detectives and the Ventura County Medical Examiner processed the scene and looked for evidence.

Cordero said the body had no outward signs of trauma although it is estimated the decomposed body had been in the ditch for “several days.... perhaps even four or five.”

He added that investigators found the dead woman’s possessions with her body. 

Cordero said until the cause of the woman’s death is confirmed by the medical examiner it will be treated as suspicious.

But that does not mean police believe it was a homicide: “Based on initial interviews we have conducted,” Cordero said it appears more likely the death could have been accidental or from natural causes.

The area where the woman’s body was found is several blocks west of Peck Road; Todd Lane is a separate street several miles east of Todd Road.

The area where the body was found was recently annexed by the City of Santa Paula and formerly had been an unincorporated portion of Ventura County.

Anyone with information on the woman’s death or who may have noticed any suspicious activity in the area is asked to call SPPD Detective Allen Macias at 525-4474.

If the caller would prefer to remain anonymous, they can call the SPPD recorded Tip Hotline, 933-5691.

In addition, tips can be emailed to the SPPD at

The discovery of the woman’s body came less than two weeks after the murder of an area woman, Ashley Calanche, 21, in a local park. A suspect was arrested several hours following the homicide.

Including Calanche, there have been five homicides in Santa Paula, one each month since May. Another suspect - an Oxnard gang member - was arrested for the July slaying of Angela Bryant, 33, who was murdered at a friends’ home. 

Historically Santa Paula has one or two homicides annually; the last spike in the murder rate was in 2002 when there were six homicides. 

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