Dead Man Discovered In Woods Identified

Examiner rules death a homicide

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The Tucson Medical Examiner's Office used dental records to identify the body of a man found by campers north of Tonto Village Saturday as 54-year-old Ronald Bianchi of Paradise Valley.

Bianchi was killed by a gunshot wound to the heart, and sheriff's detectives are now investigating the death as a homicide.

Campers discovered the body Saturday morning just off Forest Road 29 near Meads Ranch. They alerted the Gila County Sheriff's Department at 10 a.m., and investigators immediately roped off the area and began looking for clues.

Detectives discovered a driver's license at the scene, but the body had been disfigured by animals and insects and could not be positively identified at the scene. Detectives believe the body had been in the woods for just a few days.

Dr. Walter Bixby of the Tucson Medical Examiners Office identified Bianchi Wednesday through a dental-record match, Sheriff's Det. George Ratliff said.

Bianchi was a husband and the father of two grown children, the detective said. He was an entrepreneur who was involved in business deals all over the country, he said. Investigators have been unable to find anyone who claims to be a friend or acquaintance of the victim in the Rim country.

Detectives are following leads in the case, and are working closely with the Paradise Valley Police Department in the investigation.

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