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Death ruled “accidental in nature,” Martinsville Police seek family of victim

Updated: Mar 29, 2022

MARTINSVILLE, VA – The death of a man found last month in Martinsville has been determined to be accidental and his family is being sought.

At about 7:30 p.m. on February 27, a passerby called police about a body found in a drainage ditch on Smith Lake Road near Village Street.

The body has now been identified 53-year-old as Ricardo Gonzalez-Rodriguez, an undocumented immigrant who had recently come to the Martinsville area.

The identity was determined through medical records, DNA, and the assistance of the Department of Homeland Security.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner from the Department of Health in Roanoke has determined the death to be “accidental in nature.”

The police department is currently trying to contact family members in other states and in Mexico.

If anyone has information about Ricardo Gonzalez-Rodriguez, they should contact Sergeant Ratcliffe at the Martinsville Police Department.



MARTINSVILLE, VA – Police are still investigating the discovery of a body alongside a Martinsville road.

Police Chief Eddie Cassady tells BTW21 News the man’s body was found lying in a ditch Sunday around 7:30 p.m. on the side of Smith Lake Road near Village Street by a passerby.

The Chief said the body appeared to have been there for several days.

The body has been sent to the medical examiner’s office in Roanoke.

At this time, the body has not been identified and a cause of death has not been determined.

Preliminary autopsy reports show no signs of wounds or trauma, according to police.

All deaths are treated and investigated as a homicide until proven otherwise.

Police say there is no threat to the community.

As the investigation continues anyone with information should contact Sergeant Richard Ratcliffe at 276-403-5331 or the Crime Stoppers line at 276-632-7463.

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