News & Press Releases

keyboard_arrow_leftView All


At approximately 0835 hours, January 9, 2017, a 911 call was received from a resident near the 5000 block of Novato Blvd., reporting there was an upside down vehicle at the base of an embankment, west of 5022 Novato Blvd. Paramedics with the Marin County Fire Department, Officers with the California Highway Patrol and Marin County Sheriff’s deputies arrived on scene at about 0842 hours, and found the vehicle, a white Nissan Altima, upside down in a running creek, which runs north/south beneath Novato Blvd. A single adult male occupant was located inside the cab of the vehicle. The cabin was partially submerged beneath the water at the time the vehicle was found. The occupant was located unbelted in the front passenger side of the vehicle, and was also submerged in the running water. External injury evidence on the subject’s remains was consistent with him having been wearing a seatbelt, which was oriented in the driver’s seat position. The post mortem changes identified on scene by coroner personnel suggest a time of death likely occurring overnight.

The decedent has been identified by Coroner Division personnel as Jose Enrique HERNANDEZ, a 20-year-male resident of Novato, CA.

There is no evidence suggestive of another vehicle being involved in this incident. Mr. Hernandez was last seen leaving his place of employment on the evening of 01/08/2016, at which time he was driving the vehicle alone. Although no definitive cause has been attributed to this event at this time, early indicators are that speed, severe weather conditions, and significant lack of tire tread on the subject’s vehicle may have been at play in this circumstance.

A post mortem examination and toxicology testing have been scheduled for later this week. The cause and manner of death will be pending toxicology results and the conclusion of the California Highway Patrol’s investigation. No further information will be released by the Coroner Division at this time, as this in active investigation. Any further questions regarding the incident should be directed to the PIO with the Marin Area CA CHP Office: Ofc. Andrew Barclay

The Marin County Sheriff’s Office and personnel of the Coroner Division offers our condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Hernandez.


Darrell Harris
Chief Deputy Coroner