Detectives investigate final moments of man found dead on Sonoma State campus

ROHNERT PARK, Calif. (KGO) -- Family and friends described Kirk Kimberly as a "great kid." They're in shock after the teen's body was found in a shallow grave on Sonoma State University's campus.

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Sherriff's department detectives are investigating the death of 18-year-old Kimberley in Rohnert Park.

His body was discovered partially buried near a Sonoma State University parking lot.

Detectives told ABC7 News that they're looking into every possible detail of Kimberly's last few hours and days, his friends, his habits.

The ultimate question is: How he wound up dead and partially buried in the woods near Sonoma State University?

At SSU Friday, the aftermath meant more searching. Thursday, police detectives examined the body of Kimberly.

"The coroner knows the cause of death, but that is an intimate detail," said Sgt. Spencer Crum of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department. "If released to the general public it will hamper the investigation."

What we do know is that Kirk Kimberly was 18-years-old and a recent graduate of Rancho Cotati High School, where students and staff remember him fondly.

"He was well liked," said Matt Marshall of the Rohnert Park Unified School District. "He had outgoing personality. He kind of had a little bit of a comedian. So, he was a well-loved kid for sure."

At the Papa Murphy's Pizza restaurant where Kimberly used to work, Abigail O'Gorman said, "I heard he was missing and we thought the worst. It's definitely upsetting that it was him"

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Kimberly's family had reported him missing roughly 20 days ago. There were friends of his in the crowd Thursday as detectives examined his body.

Friday they confirmed that even the day before, they had some strong suspicions. Now they want to know if Kimberley died there, or if his assailant carried the body before burying it.

"It is a long way to go from any parking lot into that thicket of bushes, so it would have been a long carry to get him there," Crum said.

Was he killed there? Detectives will have to find out.

Police are asking anyone with information about the last moments of his life, where he was headed, to give them a call at (707) 565-2185 and help them fill in the blanks.
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