Police: MU student’s death was homicide

Monday, June 7, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:23 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The death of a young man found Saturday in the East Campus neighborhood is being investigated as a homicide, Columbia police said Sunday.

They have identified the victim as 23-year-old Jesse J. Valencia, a junior majoring in history at MU.

“Based upon the information that we were obtaining and the nature of the scene, it was obviously not a suicide,” said Capt. Mike Martin, investigative commander for the Columbia Police Department. “We were able to rule out accidental death, so we were comfortable with calling it a homicide investigation.”

It is the first homicide in Columbia since November.

Martin said the autopsy was conducted late Saturday night. The medical examiner’s office has not released a cause of death.

Police have information about Valencia’s whereabouts until about 3:30 a.m. Saturday. They are asking anyone who may have seen Valencia after that time to contact the department.

“We’re following leads as they come in,” Martin said. “They are developing at an even pace. We anticipate that we’ll have several more related to this. We’re talking to a lot of people.”

Police request anyone with information to call CrimeStoppers at 874-8477.

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