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Coroner identifies North Hollywood man found dead in SUV after Kern County traffic stop

Authorities are on scene after a body was found in a stolen vehicle on Highway 65 in Bakersfield, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

The Kern County coroner on Tuesday released the name of a man who was found dead in a vehicle after a traffic stop.

Evmir Miraflores Evangelista, 49, of North Hollywood, was strangled, the coroner said.

A California Highway Patrol officer conducted a traffic stop Jan. 16 for speeding on Highway 65 at James Road, according to the Sheriff's Office. The SUV had been reported as stolen out of Los Angeles County, and there was a dead man in the front passenger seat.

Ben Barness, 23, and Manpreet Sidhu, 39, both of Los Angeles, were arrested on suspicion of murder, but police said prosecutors declined to charge the men with murder and asked for further investigation. Barness was arraigned Monday on a car theft charge and remains in custody with bail set at $1 million. Sidhu has been set free.

Search warrant papers show the men also had a shovel, gas can, two used methamphetamine pipes, ski mask, gloves and guns in the car.

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