MODESTO (CBS13) — It’s a grisly backyard discovery — while burying a beloved pet, the remains of a human body were found in a shallow grave behind a Modesto home on Santa Rita Avenue.

The body of a human was dug up in a Modesto backyard, leaving investigators to dig up clues about the body’s identity and how it got there.

John Laudenslayer lives across the alley from where the pet burial took a terrifying turn. Laudenslayer arrived at his home to see the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department investigating the discovery of the remains.

“I walk out the back gate here and they’re exhuming a body across the alley from me here,” Laudenslayer said.

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People inside the home on the property where the remains were found did not want to talk to CBS13 about the gruesome discovery.

From a parking lot next door to the backyard, you can now clearly see a homemade cross has been staked in the dirt. A candle is also sitting next to the cross.

The sheriff’s department is waiting for a coroner’s report to identify the remains and determine how the person died. The report will also clarify if a murderer is on the loose.

The sheriff’s department believes the remains were likely buried recently, based on the state of the body’s decomposition.

“It’s not something that has been there for 10, 15, 20 years,” Stanislaus County Sheriff Sergeant Tom Letras said. “So it’s probably closer to a matter of months rather than years.”

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Letras said the home has had several calls for service for domestic disturbances in the past. Neighbors describe it as a home that has been a haven for transients. Even with its struggles, this is a surprise.

“A burglary’s one thing, a body is another,” Laudenslayer said. “My heart goes out to them.”

There are a number of missing persons listed in Modesto. So far, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department is not linking the human body to any particular person. The department is asking anyone with information to come forward and help in their investigation.