Missing Fresno man died of drowning but also had dog bites

The Fresno County Coroner’s Office determined that Robert Simonian, 74, died of drowning after he went missing during a walk Monday, but a medical examination also found wounds on his arms and legs that appear to be dog bites, sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti said Friday.

Botti said it is possible that Simonian may have fallen into the water after he was attacked by a dog or group of dogs while walking in the area of West Barstow and North Dickenson avenues. Sheriff’s detectives are asking for information from anyone who has had encounters with dogs, whether recently or in the past, in the area.

Simonian’s body was recovered from an irrigation canal by divers on Tuesday. That stretch of canal was off West Barstow, between Floyd and Bishop avenues.

In a different case, sheriff’s detectives on April 14 found the body of Valente Lopez Aguirre, 58, of Kerman in the same area. The coroner determined that he died from an animal attack. Detectives found a group of aggressive dogs in the area and asked Fresno Humane Animal Services to conduct DNA testing to establish whether the dogs were responsible for Aguirre’s death. The results were inconclusive.

Anyone with additional information on either case is asked to call Fresno County sheriff’s Detective Hector Palma at 559-600-8204, the sheriff’s Dispatch Center at 559-600-3111 or Crime Stoppers at 559-498-7867 to remain anonymous and be eligible for a $1,000 reward.