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A rural sheriff recollects a gruesome crime scene

Sheriff Matt Kendall

A rural sheriff recollects a gruesome crime scene

When Troy Driver was an accessory to the shotgun murder of 19-year-old Paul Rodriguez in April 1997, Matt Kendall was a special agent with the Mendocino County Major Crimes Task Force.

Rodriguez was wearing all black and sporting a necklace and diamond ring when he was ambushed in the driveway leading to the home of Troy’s parents.

Troy was the person who brought the murder weapon – a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun – to the ambush site, and he spearheaded the effort to hide Rodriguez’s body.

Two weeks after the murder, Special Agent Kendall was one of the investigators who recovered the body from alongside State Highway 128 near the California coast.

Kendall, who is now the Sheriff of Mendocino County, drove me to the remote site last week, which is about 50 miles away from where the murder occurred. It’s a densely vegetated area with a creek running nearby.

“They were a bunch of kids heading down a feral path,” said Sheriff Kendall, talking about the youthful perpetrators involved in Rodriguez’s murder. “It takes me back to Lord of the Flies.”  

In 1997, when Kendall and his colleagues located Rodriguez’s body, they encountered a gruesome crime scene, with the remains in an advanced state of decay.

As described in the coroner’s report, Rodriguez’s head was unrecognizable. His face and brain were gone and his skull was a “disarticulated” pile of fragments, “consistent with a shotgun wound and blunt force trauma to the head.”

“Who dumps a body right by the side of the road?” Sheriff Kendall wondered aloud as he showed me the location. “They understood the mechanics of murder but lacked sophistication.”

See https://www.willitsnews.com/2013/11/15/murderer-alissa-moore-denied-parole/

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