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Scandalized Ex-Vernon Official Found Dead in State Park

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A former top official of the troubled city of Vernon who had been avoiding contact from attorneys involved in the city's audit was found dead Thursday night in the Bay Area.

Eric T. Fresch, who served as a city administrator ahead of Veron's move to become disincorporated, was found dead at 6 p.m. by rangers "at Angel Island State Park, which is located in San Francisco Bay not far from Fresch's home in Tiburon," according to L.A. Now.

Fresch, 58, had been cycling on the island but had not returned home.

Fresch stopped working for Vernon in May. He'd begun working for the city as an advisor in the 1980s, and rose to the role of city attorney in 2003. Raking in an impressive salary of as much as $1.6 million in the late 2000s, Fresch worked as a consultant to Vernon from 2009 until last month.

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Thursday, "a state audit was released painting a dire picture of Vernon's finances." The audit called into question how Vernon's finances were handled when Fresch had been in charge. "The auditor said her staff could not reach him for an interview despite a deposition subpoena and repeated attempts by process servers to track him down," adds L.A. Now.

But Fresch was nowhere to be found Thursday, even though many people were eager to find him. Perhaps Fresch had learned that he was about to be the subject of a criminal investigation. From the Times:

State Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), who has been leading an ongoing government reform effort in Vernon and who requested the audit last year, called for prosecutors to investigate Fresch's dealings in Vernon in a statement released to The Times. "In light of Mr. Fresch's evasive behavior, non-reporting, and the lack of clear record-keeping detailing his activities surrounding these major financial dealings, I am going to request that the Los Angeles district attorney conduct a criminal investigation to determine what truly transpired," De Leon said.

Fresch's body was found in the water near the shore.