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2 arrested in shooting death of man found dead along Highway 9 in Santa Cruz County

PIX Now -- Thursday afternoon headlines from the KPIX newsroom 4-27
PIX Now -- Thursday afternoon headlines from the KPIX newsroom 4-27 09:35

SANTA CRUZ -- Two people were arrested Wednesday in the shooting death of a man whose body was found earlier this month off of Highway 9 in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post Thursday that deputies responded to a report of a dead body down a hillside of Highway 9 near mile marker 3.56 just south of Felton in Henry Cowell State Park.

The death was investigated as suspicious; an autopsy determined the cause of death to be a gunshot wound and the death was ruled a homicide, the sheriff's office said. The victim was identified as 24-year-old Oliver Waterfall of San Jose.

Dennis Novoa, Diana Ornelas
(L-R) Dennis Novoa, Diana Ornelas Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office

Over the past two weeks, the sheriff's office said detectives conducted interviews and reviewed surveillance footage related to the case. On Wednesday, sheriff's detectives arrested 27-year-old Dennis Novoa of San Jose and 22-year-old Diana Ornelas of Santa Clara for Waterfall's murder

Both Novoa and Ornelas were known to Waterfall and the motive of the homicide was believed to be of a personal nature, the sheriff's office said.

Further circumstances surrounding the homicide were not immediately disclosed.  

The sheriff's office asked anyone with information about the case to call detective Sgt. Simpson at 831-454-7702. 

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