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Murder victim, suspect married
Frozen man
Thomas Cervantes, otherwise known as Thomas Kroger, was identified as the man whose remains were found April 14 stuffed in a freezer in Ceres. - photo by Courtesy of the city of Ceres

Since last week's release of the identity of the homicide victim whose remains were found stored in a freezer inside a Ceres industrial building, police have been able to make contact with his next of kin.

Police released the name and photo of Thomas Cervantes, also known as Thomas Kroger. The 49-year-old homicide victim was identified as the man whose remains were found on April 14 in a freezer stored inside of an industrial warehouse building on Whitmore Avenue.

Police have not said how Cervantes was murdered.

Charged in the murder is Jacob Medina Cervantes, a 26-year-old businessman whose abandoned auto shop yielded Kroger's frozen corpse. The suspect entered an innocent plea on April 17 in a Stanislaus County Superior Court.

Investigators are looking at a romantic link between the victim and suspect. One source said the suspect had a homosexual marriage to the victim on Aug. 13. Police have only public said that Cervantes recently lived in the Modesto and San Francisco area but previously lived in Oklahoma and Texas.

A criminal complaint charges that Cervantes killed Kroger between Dec. 1 and April 10. He is being held at the Stanislaus County Jail on $2 million bail. Deputy District Attorney John R. Mayne asked for the higher bail amount out of concern about Cervantes fleeing the country as a free man.

Ceres Police investigators still seek the help of the public in learning all they can about the victim and suspect and are encouraged to contact Detective Derek Perry at 538-5730, Anonymous tips can also be reported to Stanislaus Area Crime Stoppers, 1 (866) 60-CRIME. Or tips may be texted to 274637 with the TIP704 somewhere in the wording.