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Man's Body Found Stuffed Under Grass Valley Staircase

GRASS VALLEY (CBS13) — A Grass Valley man says he found the body of his best friend stuffed under a staircase in their backyard.

When Andrew Ponti came home on Tuesday afternoon, his neighbor told him something had happened, but she wasn't sure what it was. As he started to investigate, he could tell almost immediately that something was wrong.

Peering through an open window, he noticed his keys were missing and there was standing water on the kitchen floor.

"I start walking on a wet floor," he said. "I have two inches of water on my floor; I'm like, what's going on?"

His 110-pound pit bull was nowhere to be found. What Ponti found out back instantly put him over the edge.

"Saw my best friend crunched into a ball the size of a cubic meter," he said.

The body of his best friend since he was 9, Joel, was tucked underneath the second step of a back porch staircase.

Ponti is certain it was foul play. The Federal Bureau of Investigation responded at the request of Grass Valley Police to collect evidence and help process the scene.

Police are calling the 33-year-old's death suspicious, saying it's too early to know for sure.

"I would never ever, ever, ever ever think of hurting the person who, through the separation with the mother of my children, has helped pay my bills, make sure they have food to eat," Ponti said.

Police say an autopsy is scheduled on Thursday.

The pit bull was found, unharmed, 10 blocks away.

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