The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office is requesting assistance from the public regarding a suspected murder case after a body was found in a burned vehicle near the intersection of Lower Telegraph Road and Highway 4 on the morning of May 29.

Investigators have not released any identifying information regarding the victim at this time. 

Anyone who had contact with the occupants of a red or maroon Chevrolet HHR or an adult male within the general area of the incident, or anyone who saw the vehicle in the Copperopolis area is encouraged to contact the sheriff’s office.

A suspect arrested near the scene on May 29, David Joseph Fagundes of Washington state, was arraigned at the Calaveras County Superior Court on Friday and is being held without bail, Sgt. Greg Stark with the sheriff’s office confirmed.

Fagundes, 41, reportedly hid in the grass for hours while California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) investigators remained at the scene.

He was apprehended by a SWAT team and K-9 units after a standoff with law enforcement during which the suspect allegedly threatened officers, claiming to be armed and suicidal.

The suspect was found to be unarmed when taken into custody, according to Stark.

Fagundes is charged with resisting arrest, being under the influence, and making criminal threats to officials. Additionally, there is a no-bail warrant for his arrest out of Washington state, according to Stark.

As previously reported, the suspect has prior convictions for felony burglary in Montana, felony battery in Idaho and first-degree manslaughter in Washington state.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Sgt. Ken Grognet with the sheriff’s office at (209) 754-6552.


Dakota graduated from Bret Harte in 2013 and went to Davidson College, NC where she earned a bachelor's degree in Arab studies. After spending time studying in the Middle East and Europe, she is happy to be home, writing about the community she loves.

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