A man was arrested Saturday in connection with the death of a woman whose partially nude body was found near the railroad tracks in Morgan Hill in what police say appears to be city’s first homicide of the year. This afternoon, police identified the victim as 46-year-old Bertha Paulson, a Morgan Hill resident. Police are investigating whether Paulson had been sexually assaulted, police spokesman Capt. Shane Palsgrove said today. “We haven’t ruled that out,” Palsgrove said. “We’re looking into that.
” Investigators arrested Michael Sheppard, a 61-year-old Morgan Hill man, at about 10 p.m. Saturday on suspicion of murder and felony domestic violence, Palsgrove. Sheppard was believed to have been romantically involved with Paulson, and the two had allegedly argued over “fidelity issues” prior to her death, Palsgrove said. Police believe Paulson was knocked unconscious during a physical assault in the trailer she shared with Sheppard, Palsgrove said.
Her body was found around 9 a.m. Saturday in an easement about 15 feet from the railroad tracks behind a trailer park at 17880 Monterey Road, Palsgrove said. Her pants were pulled down past her knees and a jacket had been placed over her, Palsgrove said. “We believe her body was dumped there between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m.” Saturday, he said.
Morgan Hill police began to investigate the death with assistance from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office and the county crime lab and medical examiner’s office, Palsgrove said. Union Pacific Railroad police also helped investigate since the body was found on railroad property, Palsgrove said. Police are awaiting autopsy results from the medical examiner’s office to determine the nature of the assault, he said.
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