Dead man assumed to be piano player
Last updated 7/12/2007 at Noon
After Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene of a suspicious death in downtown Fallbrook July 3 at approximately 2:45 p.m., information began to unfold that indicates the dead body found inside a van in the parking lot of a local shopping center, in the 800 block of South Main, may be a transient musician who performed regularly at local Italian restaurants.
As of Tuesday afternoon, July 10, investigators with the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office say they still have not been able to make a positive identification on the deceased. Local sources say they believe the man is a 58-year-old male pianist known by the stage name Nick Valeros or Nick Hunington. While the Medical Examiner’s Office says the cause of death is still unknown at this time, Sheriff’s detectives described it as “definitely suspicious” and said a full investigation will ensue.
The owner of one of the Italian restaurants said the musician had not been seen by any of his acquaintances for more than a week before the body was found, but he noticed the man’s van in the parking lot the night of July 2.
“I went over to [the van], noticed the passenger window was down and that a foul odor was coming from it,” Ron Nusser said, adding that the body appeared to be wedged under a makeshift bed inside the back of the van and was surrounded by boxes.
Nusser said he spoke with a man with whom Valeros occasionally stayed in Rainbow. The man verified he hadn’t seen Valero in over a week, either.
“It’s really a shame. He had a lot of talent,” Nusser said.
Sheriff’s authorities closed a large portion of the shopping center’s parking lot for the remainder of the afternoon and evening to investigate what may be a crime scene.