The Inyo Sheriffs Department has wrapped up an investigation into a body found off the Death Valley Road near Big Pine. It appears 41 year old Nels Sperling, of Garden Grove resident, took his own life with a gun that may have been stolen. Officers sasid Sperling was on parole for a homicide charge.
A week ago, (Monday December 29,) the mans Toyota pick up was found off the road on its side about ten and a half miles from the junction of Highway 168 and the Death Valley Road. The truck appeared to have slipped on some ice and off the road, but the accident only led to minor injuries. The coroner reports that a single self inflicted gunshot wound to the head killed this man.
It appears that after the vehicle accident, which likely occurred between 10:00 and 10:40 AM, Sperling got out of the vehicle and shot himself. With ice on the road, Detective Jeff Hollowell reports that the truck was moving at a low speed. The man had minor injuries, which included a broken wrist, he says.
With minor injuries from the accident, why Sperling then shot himself is not known for certain. One possibility is that the suicide was related to the fact that Sperling was on parole for a homicide charge out of Orange County. Hollowell reports that Sperling was in possession of three handguns, two of which are believed to have been stolen.