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Homicide victim found in abandoned building
Suspect taken into custody, released days later

A tip regarding the welfare of a man turned into a homicide investigation when Turlock Police officers found the man dead in a burned room of an abandoned building.

The deceased has been identified as Brian Vastine, 37.

The investigation led to the identity of a suspect who was arrested Tuesday. The suspect was identified as Danny Stevens, 58.

On Monday the Turlock Police Department got a request to check on the welfare of a man in an abandoned building in the 1300 block of W. Linwood Avenue. The person making the request stated the man may have been assaulted.

When officers arrived at the abandoned building around 12:13 p.m., they discovered a partially burned room with a deceased adult man inside and detectives were called to the scene.

“After obtaining a search warrant for the location, detectives were able to take a closer look at the evidence and discovered the victim may have been assaulted,” said Turlock Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Parmley.

Detectives and investigators with the Stanislaus County Fire Investigation Unit spent hours at the location processing the scene. The Stanislaus County Coroner’s Office responded and took custody of the body.

Detectives and investigators with the Special Investigations Unit worked multiple leads and interviewed multiple witnesses and were able to identify Stevens as a person of interest on Tuesday.

Stevens was taken into custody around 2:20 p.m. Tuesday after making an attempt to evade police contact, Parmley said.

Stevens was transported to the Turlock Police Department and interviewed. He was later booked at the Stanislaus County Jail on homicide charges. On Friday, Stevens was released from custody without the Stanislaus County District attorney’s Office filing charges. The district attorney’s office stated the investigation is ongoing and awaiting the autopsy results.

Stevens is believed to have known the victim for only a short time, leaving the motive unclear. There is no indication that this was a random act of violence.

“Detectives are relentlessly working this investigation to determine why this senseless crime occurred. Please help by calling if you have any information about this crime,” said Turlock Police Capt. Steve Rodrigues.

The Turlock Police Department asks that anyone with information about this investigation to call Detective Gina Giovacchini at (209) 668-6539. You can also contact the Turlock Police Department’s Tip Line at (209) 668-5550 extension 6780 or email at

The Turlock Police Department is an active participant in the Crime Stoppers Program. Callers can leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 and may be eligible for a cash reward.