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Man Found Dead in a Vehicle Near Banning

A 28-year-old was found dead by Morongo tribal patrols, and now sheriff's officials are working the case as a homicide.

Update 9 p.m. Thursday:

The man found dead in a car parked on the Morongo Indian Reservation has been identified as a Banning resident.

Coroner's reports released Thursday indicate that Richard Cortez lived in the city.

Officials also indicated his age was 27, rather than 28, as sheriff's officials initially reported.

"Due to the circumstance," homicide investigators are handling the case, according to the sheriff's department.

Original story as follows:

Investigators with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Cabazon station and Morongo Tribal officers are working to determine what killed a man found dead in a vehicle late Wednesday morning.

Tribal officers found Richard Augustine Cortez, 28, at 11:33 a.m. in a vehicle in the 48000 block of Chino Road near Banning, on the Morongo Indian Reservation, officials said Thursday.

Cortez is not a member of the Morongo Tribe, sheriff's officials said.

The investigation is ongoing and no further information is immediately available, officials said.

Riverside County Sheriff's investigators ask anyone with information on Cortez to call the Sheriff's Central Homicide Unit at (760) 393-3500 or Cabazon Station Investigators at (951) 922-7100.

margaret cortez January 18, 2013 at 08:25 AM
R.I.P Richard we love you and we are really going to miss you. I know you are up there with your dad my uncle Rudy i know he had spread his arm open to welcome you. We will have those memories in are hearts. Till we see each other agin love you and miss you. Love, Aunt Helen Cortez margaret cortez
carol jane lummus January 20, 2013 at 02:18 AM
Of all my sons friends, he was the only one who would show up at the house and greet me and shake my hand, and apologize if he was bothering me. He had manners. And he ALWAYS treated me with the upmost respect. I never had a issue with him. And he was always smiling. My heart aches so much, I will miss him dearly and his smile. Love you Richard, RIP.
carol jane lummus January 20, 2013 at 03:24 AM
amen to that!!
carol jane lummus January 20, 2013 at 03:30 AM
RIP Richard, will miss your smile, and how you cared enough to try to straighten my son out, and how you actually made him apologize to me and his father for the way he talked to us. You were a good man. Will miss you, :(
Peggy Mccollum Lindwall February 09, 2013 at 09:43 PM
may you rest in peace richard you were a great guy with alot going but you always seemed to have a smile on ya face im going miss seeing you walk down my street.

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