HAYWARD -- Foul play is suspected in the death of a man whose body was found early Thursday behind a boarded-up home on B Street near the downtown area, police said.

The body was spotted by a passer-by at 2:15 a.m., on the back patio of a vacant home in the 1400 block of B Street, an area transients are known to frequent.

It was not known how the man died, but investigators are treating the incident as suspicious, said Sgt. Eric Melendez. The Alameda County Coroner will determine the cause of death, police said.

The victim was found face down and described as a heavyset African-American man, age 25 to 30, who appeared to have been dead less than 24 hours, said Lt. Mark Stuart.

On Thursday, Hayward police investigators had cordoned off the vacant home, which is on property surrounded by a chain-link fence, across the street from an AT&T building and adjacent to real estate offices.

The property is owned by Caltrans, police said, and was purchased with the intent to build a freeway in the area. The freeway was never built ¿because of local opposition. There is another home and a shed on the property, both also boarded up.

About 9:45 a.m. the coroner arrived to take the body away. An autopsy was expected to be conducted over the weekend, and identification would mostly likely come from fingerprints since there was no identification on the victim, Melendez said.


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Linda Williams, age 57, lives across the street from where the man's body was discovered.

"This is a safe area, but there's a homeless camp behind the house where he was found," she said as she stood outside yellow crime scene tape on Thursday.

Anyone with information about the homicide is asked to call police at 510-293-7000.

Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.