Homicide investigation under way

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By SCOTT PESZNECKER

The longtime girlfriend of an Avery man found dead near White Pines Lake said she found blood at their mobile home three days before his body was found.

The body of Bradford Lavelle Davis, 53, was discovered by a hiker beneath some bushes. He was about 100 yards from a dirt road and about a mile north of the lake.

An autopsy performed Tuesday showed Davis died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Calaveras County Sheriff's Department Lt. Gary Kuntz said earlier today that investigators are "looking at some different people" but have no suspects yet.

"We're investigating it hot and heavy," he said.

Sheriff's department investigators scoured the Davis residence at the Safari Mobile Home Park for evidence yesterday. One investigator who was there yesterday said they'd found "nothing too important" inside.

But Francine Reece, who'd lived with Davis for 10 years until the time of his death, thinks she found something important.

She said she was staying with her mother across the street when Davis disappeared. When she didn't see him come home Wednesday, she knew something was wrong.

The next day, she noticed Davis' dog behind their mobile home, sniffing around and acting strange. She walked back there and found blood beneath a piece of cement.

She immediately called the sheriff's department, she said.

"I don't know who'd do this to him," Reece said yesterday at the Avery Hotel, where she's been staying for the last few days. "He didn't have any enemies."

Kuntz said it's possible that what Reece found isn't blood. Samples have been sent to the state Department of Justice for testing.

Reece, 53, said she'll remember her boyfriend as "a really good person" and an excellent woodworker. Davis often did projects and ran errands for the Avery Hotel; some of his projects include the clear, protective coating over the hotel's bar and a wooden Harley-Davidson sign hanging nearby.

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