The Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) has identified the teenage boy found dead by a jogger on the side of the road, just south of the Sleep Train Amphitheatre.
Officers discovered Anthony Hofer, 17, lying lifeless near brush and trees in the 2300 block of Heritage Road just after 7 a.m. Thursday.
CVPD Capt. Lon Turner told NBC 7 the cause of Hofer’s death is not apparent, so officers with the CVPD’s crimes of violence unit were called to take over the investigation.
"We're going to take this very cautiously," Capt. Turner told NBC 7. "At the end, [the cause of death] could be of natural causes, but we're going to have to rule that out."
It took some time to identify Hofer because he was not carrying an ID. He was wearing clothing that may be consistent with jogging apparel, but this is still under investigation, Capt. Turner said.
Investigators said Hofer did not have socks or shoes on, and officials had not been able to immediately find those items around the scene.
The captain said, at this point, there are no witnesses – only the jogger who reported finding the body. Police blocked off traffic to Heritage Road near Sleep Train Amphitheatre amid the investigation.
Aerial footage showed dozens of evidence markers lined along a sidewalk near the road and on a fence. Apparent smeared blood stains could be seen on a sidewalk close to where Hofer’s body was found.
By 10:45 a.m., the San Diego Medical Examiner had arrived on scene to take away the body. The ME will determine Hofers cause of death.
By noon, volunteers with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department were at the scene aiding in the investigation. A search dog was working alongside officials, sniffing through the brush off the side of the road and around a fence.
As of 2:30 p.m. Thursday, the investigation continued and the road was still blocked off to traffic.
Capt. Turner said, at this point, officials had not ruled anything out, including homicide, hit-and-run or a jogging accident.
“We're just not comfortable right now saying exactly what happened. There are still a lot of things we don't know,” he told NBC 7.
Capt. Turner said investigators are sifting through debris found on the roadway, trying to determine what pieces may be linked to the incident.
“Certainly, in a case like this, we are going to take everything and make sure we thoroughly document the scene,” he explained.
Capt. Turner said the blood stains discovered on the sidewalk could indicate speed was involved, and, in his words, “that the victim was moving at a high rate of speed at some point in time.”
“There's nothing to indicate to me that the victim had anything to do with taking his own life. So whether it was a hit and run, whether it was a homicide, we just don't know yet. We need to get more evidence,” he added.
Capt. Turner said investigators have not yet determined how long Hofer had been dead, but said there were no signs of decay on the body.
He said Hofer did appear to have some trauma to his face and other parts of his body, but he could not go into further detail.
By 3:50 p.m., the CVPD said officers had cleared the scene and Heritage Road was reopened to traffic.