MORGAN HILL – Suspect 61-year-old Michael Sheppard of Morgan Hill was arrested in a trailer near 17880 Monterey Rd. in Morgan Hill for one count of murder and one count of felony domestic violence, not far from the crime scene.
According to the press release by Special Operations Captain Shane Palsgrove with the Morgan Hill police, “Preliminary investigation revealed Sheppard was in an argument with the victim and physically assaulted her.”
Sheppard is suspected of dumping her unconscious body in the area where she was found Saturday afternoon. “The body of the victim was found 15-feet from the railroad tracks.” Palsgrove said.
Working with Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, Santa Clara County Crime Lab, Santa Clara County Coroners’ Office, and Union Pacific Railroad Police, the Morgan Hill Police Department Officers were able to identify the victim and her killer within 24-hours after the crime was reported.
According to the press release, “Domestic violence is not an isolated, private family matter. Government statistics indicate that 1,500-2,000 women are murdered by partners/ex-partners per year; that is an average of 3-4 women per day.”
For many victims of domestic abuse, there is no warning sign that tells them their spouse, or loved one is about to physically, and or emotionally induce harm.
The area where the homicide occurred had a limited number of calls for service according to police records. Service calls to the area have been about graffiti, and kids loitering near businesses.
There were also signs of a homeless encampment that had been cleared out in the prior months. Litter and trash was still abundant near the site.
“Officers enforce trespassing laws that have been set in place by the law,” Palsgrove said. Contact is made with a suspect walking or standing near the railroad tracks by officers if they see someone in the area that is not suppose to be there. “They are usually given a warming or issued a citation,” Palsgrove said. According to police records, calls of service have been mainly about kids skateboarding.
The Morgan Hill Police department tracks police reports using an algorithm program that will predict where a possible crime may occur. According to Palsgrove, “The department uses predictive policing practices.”
The program tracks service calls that it is receiving from calls in the area. “Officers are then dispatched to that area looking for crime.” Despite its use and practice, the program does little to help protect victims of domestic violence if they do not report the abuse happening in their home.
Contra Costa Times: Morgan Hill police arrest man suspected of killing girlfriend, dumping body
KSBW: Morgan Hill homicide victim identified; 1 arrested
ABC Local: Man arrested after body found in Morgan Hill