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Body of Riverside County woman found in open field, death probed as ‘suspicious’

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Riverside County sheriff’s deputies sought the public’s help in investigating the suspicious death of a 46-year-old woman in Mountain Center.

The body of Jodi Newkirk, a resident of Mountain Center, was discovered at around 5:30 p.m. on Thursday in a large, open field near the intersection of Bonita Vista and Apple Canyon roads, according to Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Ed Baeza.

Baeza said investigators were under the impression Newkirk was struck by a hit-and-run driver and left at the scene. But upon further examination, her body appeared to bear “unexplained injuries” that raised suspicions of homicide.

The sheriff’s department lead homicide unit has since taken over the case.

Anyone with information relevant to the investigation has been asked to contact the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Central Homicide Unit at (951) 955-2777.

Jake Flanagin | Contributed

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