Woman's body found in Kern County canal

DELANO, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) The Kern County Sheriff's search-and-rescue unit pulled a body out of the Friant-Kern Canal about a quarter mile north of Woollomes Road east of Delano.

The body was discovered by an employee of the Kern-Friant Canal, said sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt.

Delano Police Sgt. Pete Lopez told Eyewitness News the body is that of a woman.

Pruitt said the corpse was in an advanced state of decomposition and had been submerged for quite some time. Foul play is suspected, he said.

"It does appear the body displays some indication that the death is possibly suspicious," said Pruitt.

Family members of missing Delano woman Erika Lango were on scene after the body's discovery.

"I prayed to God that it was not her, but what can you do?" said Lango's aunt, Maria Guerrero.

Eyewitness News reporter Tom Murphy was on scene as the body was recovered. This is his live report at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Continue reading story {>}{>}

The 26-year-old mother of four children was last seen Oct. 9. According to Delano police, the woman was last seen by her husband, Julio Lango, when she walked out of their apartment to visit a friend. Police have said Julio Lango is a person of interest in the case.

Family members gathered at the scene, hoping to get any word if the body found in the canal was that of Erica Lango. Her mother, Esther Padron, clutched a cellphone, which was constantly ringing.

Police and sheriff's teams had previously searched the area and found nothing. But, the water level in the canal recently went down several feet, said Pruitt. That may have been enough to reveal the body.

The coroner's office took possession of the body, and an autopsy is expected to be done this week, possibly as early as Wednesday. The case has been difficult for police to solve.

"Very difficult, because there's no leads coming from the public, and we have no further leads to continue on to find Mrs. Lango," said Delano police Sgt. Lopez.

Anyone with information helpful to the investigation is asked to call the sheriff's office at (661) 861-3110 or the Secret Witness program at 322-4040. Anonymous text tips can be sent to TIP411 (847411). Type the keyword "KCSO" prior to the message.