Authorities are investigating what caused the death of a naked man found buried face-down under a mound of sand at Ocean Beach, clad only in his socks.
A small group of young adults discovered the body early Tuesday, approximately 5 a.m., when they tried to use the fire pits across the Great Highway from the Beach Chalet restaurant near Fulton Street, National Park Service spokesman Rich Weideman said.
The man appeared to be in his mid-40s, was overweight and looked very pale, Weideman said.
The group was alerted to the man after they noticed his white socks poking up from a mound of sand. Two members of the contingent were held for questioning but were not considered suspects and were later released, Weideman said.
There were no signs of foul play, such as stab marks or bullet wounds, or any noticeable evidence of drug use, but it appeared clear that someone had shoveled the sand on top of the man, leaving investigators to label it a "suspicious incident," Weideman said.
"He was well above the wash zone, and it was obvious he was purposely covered up," said Weideman.
The Medical Examiner had not released the man’s identity as of Tuesday afternoon. An autopsy report is expected to be complete in the next two days, which should reveal the cause of death, Weideman said.
"Judging from his skin and fingernails, he didn’t appear to be transient or homeless," Weideman said. "Our investigators said it’s very unusual for a body to be discovered without an apparent cause of death."