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Body Found in Polliwog Park Identified as Long Beach Man

A body found wrapped in an unspecified material sits in a pile of fertilizer next to the Begg baseball field in Manhattan Beach Thursday. Photo Credit John Schreiber.
A body found wrapped in an unspecified material sits in a pile of fertilizer next to the Begg baseball field in Manhattan Beach Thursday. Photo Credit John Schreiber.
The decomposing body found at Polliwog Park last Thursday has been identified as a 21-year-old Hispanic man from Long Beach, said Lt. Dave Coleman of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Tuesday.

Mario Herrera, the father of a 2-year-old, was reported missing by his family the day before his body was discovered on a fertilizer pile near a public ball field, parking lot and swimming pool. He was reportedly last seen on July 6th.

A cause of death has yet to be determined despite the autopsy that was conducted Monday, said Coleman. The body was in a state of decomposition that made it "difficult" to determine a cause of death and it had "no apparent wounds."

"We haven't determined that it's a murder yet," Coleman told Patch. The death could be an overdose or accidental. Investigators hope the coroner will be able to determine a cause of death when the toxicology report is finalized in about 6 to 8 weeks.

Investigators believe the body was placed near the fertilizer and was not part of the fertilizer dumped at the site.

Coleman said investigators will work "backward" to find out when and where anyone, including friends and associates, saw Herrera in the days before his body was discovered.

Herrera's identification was made using fingerprints and tattoos, said Coleman. Investigators are treating the case as an active death investigation. "We don't want to miss anything," he said.

The coroner has not given investigators an estimate as to when the man's death occurred. Coleman said fertilizer would accelerate the decomposition process due to the heat it radiates, which continues even during evening hours.

Anyone with information should contact LASD's homicide division at (323) 890-5500. Anonymous tips can be given by calling Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477) or texting TIPLA plus the tip to CRIMES (274637). Tips can also be left at lacrimestoppers.org.

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