A person was found dead under "suspicious" circumstances in an Alhambra backyard Thursday afternoon, and investigators are treating the case as a homicide, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Alhambra police responded to the 1200 block South Sierra Vista Avenue about 4:40 p.m. after a person was reported dead in the backyard of a home, authorities said.
Although sheriff's officials originally reported the victim was a woman, they later said it was a man after receiving a coroner's report.
Detectives from the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau were also called to “investigate the circumstances surrounding the suspicious death," according to a news release from the law enforcement agency.
At a news conference Thursday evening, sheriff's Lt. John Corina said the victim's head was found wedged between a step and a hot water heater in the yard. The position of his head made it difficult for investigators to positively identify the man's sex.
“It’s kind of hard to see who this person is," Corina said.
There was also a cardboard box on the victim's head when investigators arrived, but it was unclear if the box had been placed there by a resident after the body was found.
“We don’t know if one of the residents did that, like as a sign of respect, just covering the body, or how it got there," Corina said.
Authorities were waiting for the coroner to arrive to determine the person’s gender, as well as his or her name and age, and a cause of death.
“This person’s face down. There’s a language barrier. The people in the house mainly speak Chinese. So we so far haven’t been able to communicate and get much information from them," Corina said. "We’re in the process of doing that now with an interpreter.”
Detectives also had to wait to get a search warrant before they entered the home, something they finally received later in the evening.
An investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information is urged to call the sheriff's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500 or leave an anonymous tip through Crime Stoppers by calling 800-222-8477.