Union City Police were investigating the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of man who was found unconscious inside a trash can Sunday morning.
Investigators say a woman found him yesterday morning while taking out her trash near the intersection of Tenth and I streets.
She immediately called 911 and responding crews took the victim to a hospital where he died.
Police later identified him as 21-year-old Joseph Gonzales-Perez of Union City, a family friend of the woman who discovered him Sunday. She reported to police that Perez would stay at her home occasionally.
Police described the discovery of Perez as suspicious after determining that the trash can did not belong to the home where he was found, meaning that someone had wheeled the receptacle to the house.
“Whether it's a prank of some sort or if the person was injured somewhere else and placed in the can, we just don't know yet, obviously it is an unusual situation so we're treating it as a serious crime,” said Cmdr Ben Horner of the Union City Police.
Gonzalez-Perez grew up in Lodi, but lived in Union City. His family says he suffered from a bone disease and was on disability. They described him as happy and always smiling.
“He was the most kind hearted person, he loved everyone, he was so non-judgmental,” said Amelia Gonzalez-Perez, the victim's sister.
Investigators told KTVU that Perez had alcohol in his system at the time of his discovery. He also had an ulcer and other medical issues, though no physical injuries were seen on his body.
“I just want to know why would they put in a trash can and not help him, said Amelia Gonzalez-Perez.
Flowers and candles had been placed outside of the home where he was found after news of Perez’s discovery spread.
Union City Police were asking the public for more information Monday morning. An autopsy would likely be performed Tuesday.
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