The body of an unidentified middle-aged male was found in Leroy Jackson Park early Thursday morning. John E. Griffith IV, 25, was arrested at Upjohn Park just 12 hours after the body was discovered.

The body of an unidentified Hispanic man was found in Leroy Jackson Park early Thursday morning. A suspect was arrested just 12 hours later.

Through an “extensive and thorough” investigation by the Ridgecrest Police Department and Kern County District Attorney’s Crime Lab, a man was identified.

Officer Travis Gillette located 25-year-old John E. Griffith IV, who is believed to be homeless, at Upjohn Park in the 400 block of East Upjohn Avenue. Griffith was arrested without incident and booked at the Kern County Jail in Bakersfield, where he is being held without bail.

“It was just good police work by a patrol officer,” said Capt. Paul Wheeler. “We had a description of who we believed the suspect was and they went out looking and they went out looking in places they thought this type of person might be found.”

A La Mirage area resident returning from a friend’s home on the north side of Ridgecrest “stumbled” across the body of a man while taking a shortcut through the park around 2:45 a.m. Thursday. The resident called the police as soon as arriving home.

“We haven’t made a positive identification, pending that and notification of next of kin, we can’t release any names,” Wheeler said.

Police said the body was discovered lying down on concrete underneath a tree near the tennis courts in Leroy Jackson Park off of East French Avenue. Law enforcement has not determined how long the man was deceased before being found.

Wheeler added he was not certain “what exactly the cause of death was.” An autopsy is scheduled for this morning.

Daily Independent