Coroner releases cause of death from alleged Oct. murder

Coroner releases cause of death from alleged Oct. murder »Play Video
Frank Adams (Photo from Bakersfield police)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The official cause of death was released Monday for an alleged murder from last fall.

Frank Adams Jr., 24, was shot in the chest, the Kern County coroner's office said. The coroner's news release said the investigation has been completed.

Detectives said they were dealing with a homicide back in October when they found Adams' body in an orchard east of Maricopa, but the specific cause of death was withheld until now.

Adams disappeared after going into a home on the 8000 block of Big Bear Street in Bakersfield. The home had a reputation in law enforcement circles as being a drug house, but Adams went there with his wife and their 5-year-old son, both of whom waited in the car.

Mrs. Adams, who did not want to use her full name out of security concerns, told Eyewitness News at the time that a man came out of the house and gave her a message that was supposedly from her husband.

"Frank said for you to go home, and we're going to give him a ride," Adams' wife described the message. Mrs. Adams said she feared her husband was forced to leave the home from the back with two other men.

The case took an unusual twist when the same house erupted in flames within a week of Adams' disappearance. Fire officials said at the time that they suspected arson.

The suspect, Joseph Burciaga, was arrested Jan. 31 as he re-entered the United States from Mexico. Burciaga showed border agents his driver's license at the Otay Mesa Land Port of Entry in San Diego, and, after running a check on his name, agents discovered he was wanted for the alleged murder.

Police haven't released a motive for the alleged murder.