UPDATE, 2:30 PM: Body of woman identified as 30-year-old Heather Stearns of Santa Cruz. Police: Autopsy shows Stearns was murdered.
A foul smell coming from a Santa Cruz apartment led to a grisly discovery Tuesday — a 63-year-old man had been living with the decomposing body of a woman, police said.
Parolee John Clauer had allegedly been living with the body for more than a week. Police found the body after responding to a call about an “unusual smell” coming from a studio apartment on East Cliff Drive.
Police say Clauer was with the body when they entered the apartment around 7:10 p.m.
On Thursday, cops identified the deceased woman as Heather Stearns, 30, of Santa Cruz.
The death is being investigated as a homicide after autopsy results revealed Stearns suffered severe physical trauma.
Though Clauer is a suspect, he has not been charged pending further investigation and input from prosecutors in Santa Cruz, police said.
Detectives are investigating Clauer’s relationship with Stearns, Santa Cruz deputy police Chief Steve Clark said.
Clauer was booked into Santa Cruz County Jail on a no-bail parole hold, police said.
Clauer has a “storied history” with Santa Cruz cops involving drug and alcohol offenses, Clark said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.