Source: ME finds indentation on slain storeowner’s skull

Posted at 11:57 PM, Sep 26, 2012
and last updated 2012-09-27 07:21:34-04

RICHMOND, Va.  (WTVR) - Four days after storeowner Paresh Patel was abducted from the Raceway Gas station in Chesterfield, his body was discovered in a grassy area near the James River across from Rockets Landing.

Sources tell CBS 6 News that the man's body was so badly decomposed after four days that the medical examiner could not determine a cause of death.

Dr. Bernard Means, a  professor of anthropology at Virginia Commonwealth University, said many things can accelerate decay, including the warmth and humidity.

“And, if there had been any wounds to the body, that could actually accelerate decay. The more openings to the body, the more insects and animals can enter the body,” he said.

Sources tell CBS 6 the medical examiner did find an indentation on Patel's skull, and sent the skull to an anthropologist to analyze.

“The anthropologist can look at the skull and determine whether or not the indentation happened before or after the person died….they can take tests or examine the skull under a microscope to look at the nature of the fracture patters, if there are cut marks on the skull,” Means said.

Additionally, Means said the anthropologist can determine what caused the indentation.

“If it was a blunt force trauma like if you hit someone with a baseball bat or something like that, that would leave a different kind of injury than would a gun or a knife or a machete,” he said.

It’s all part of the puzzle that will hopefully lead to justice for the Patel family.

A family friend said Patel’s funeral is tentatively scheduled for Saturday.