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Body found on New Year’s Day marks second found in Lafayette during holiday season

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LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Jan. 1, 2015) -- Police are investigating two dead bodies, one found on Christmas and the other on New Year's Day.

On Christmas morning, Sammy Davis and Nancy Salem found a man's body in a ditch next to Sagamore Parkway.

"I said, 'I think there's a dead body on the side of the road,' so we turned around and (came) back," Davis said.

Police said the man had been murdered.

"(At) first I thought he was drunk (and) passed out. ... When I got there, he was in shorts and a tank top, no shoes," Davis said.

Davis said he was relieved to hear investigators are now looking into William Paz, 42, of Indianapolis for a possible connection. Paz is being held in the Tippecanoe County Jail.

It didn't stop there, though.

On New Year's Day, someone found a woman dead underneath a van at God's House Church near 16th and Greenbush.

"We'll be praying for her and the family," Pastor Ed Underwood said.

Underwood said he and his congregation celebrated the New Year at the church Wednesday night, leaving just after midnight with no signs of anything unusual.

It was only nine hours later that Underwood got a call about the police presence at the church.

Neighbors told FOX59 that the woman was halfway under the van with her pants around her ankles. Police reported no signs of trauma and are awaiting an autopsy to determine her cause of death.

Still, two tragedies on two holidays left both Underwood and Davis feeling uneasy going into the new year.

"(It) even kind of feels funny driving up on the parking lot, knowing something like that happened. (It's) very tragic," Underwood said.

"(I'm) still pretty shocked. ... because Lafayette’s a great community," Davis said.

If you have any information about either body, call Lafayette Police at (765) 807-1200 or the We Tip Hotline at 800-78-Crime.