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Napa coroner identifies man found dead in parked trailer

  • Updated
Body found in trailer on Napa street

The body of a man was found inside a trailer that was parked at the cul-de-sac of Industrial Way, according to Napa Police. Officers were called to the scene at about 9 a.m. and remained for more than nine hours.

Napa Police are awaiting the results of an autopsy Friday on a man whose decomposing body was found Wednesday morning inside a box trailer in north Napa.

Until the cause of death is known, police are investigating the incident as  "suspicious," Sgt. Pete Piersig said Thursday.

The body was discovered inside a locked trailer parked at the end of Industrial Way. The Napa Fire Department had received a call Wednesday morning of a foul smell and an unknown substance leaking from the trailer, which apparently had been parked on the roadway for some days.

The report was initially regarded as hazardous materials call, until public safety workers cut off the lock and discovered the deceased occupant, Piersig said.

"There was a decomposing body in a locked trailer. It looked suspicious," he said.

On Thursday afternoon, the Napa County Coroner's Office identified the body as that of Shane O'Brien Benner, 51, from Napa. A friend said Benner had attended Napa High School in the late '80s.

The time of death was listed as 8 a.m. Wednesday when the body was found, but Benner had died considerably earlier, said Henry Wofford, a spokesperson for the Napa County Sheriff's Office.

For their investigation, police called for assistance from the Sheriff's Office and the Napa County District Attorney's Office.

Shortly before 5:35 p.m., personnel at the scene carried a blue body bag from the trailer into a white van, which drove away from the street a few minutes later. A black Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck also was towed away from inside the cordon.

A half-dozen or more people were seen removing a large red bag and other items from the trailer, which was about 20 yards away from the roadblock. A twin-size mattress lay on the sidewalk beneath the caution tape.

City Editor Kevin Courtney contributed to this story.

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