Body found off Auburn trail was of skateboarder who took his own life

Joshua Pavlov mourned in tight-knit skateboarding community
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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A hiker on a public trail near Auburn’s Railhead Park made the grisly discovery of a body of a  man who authorities say likely committed suicide.

Auburn Police were notified of the discovery of the body just before 6:26 p.m. on Saturday. The location was about a quarter of a mile south of Pacific Avenue, near Portland Avenue.

The man was identified by the Placer County Coroner’s Office on Monday as Joshua Pavlov, 20, of no fixed address.

A preliminary determination of the cause of death was hanging, Placer County Sheriff’s Lt. Mark Reed said.

Auburn Police handled the initial investigation at the scene into Pavlov’s death. Sgt. Dave Nehr said Monday that there was no evidence to classify it as suspicious.

The body was spotted off the trail in a wooded area, near the Auburn Skate Park at Auburn Recreation District’s Recreation Park.

Pavlov was an avid skateboarder at the skate park. On Monday, the mood was subdued as skater’s music played and his friends remembered a young man who had made an impression on them during his short life.

Tyler Burzinski, also 20, said word spread quickly through Facebook about Pavlov’s death and skateboarders held a gathering Sunday at the skate park to remember him.

“We didn’t see it coming,” Burzinski said. “I saw him earlier in the day (on Saturday at the skate park) and he was happy. He will be missed.”

Plans were already beginning to take shape for another memorial event at noon Tuesday at the skate park, he said.

“I was younger but he was a big influence,” Burzinski said. “He was like an older brother.”

Some of Pavlov’s signature skateboarding style can be seen in amateur videos on YouTube.

“He could do handstands, all kinds of things,” Burzinski said. “He had genuine style.”

While Pavlov lived in Auburn and had even spent some time the past summer living in a tent near the skate park, his roots were in Weaver, Ala. Burzinski said that Pavlov had moved back to that community but eventually returned to Auburn.

While no memorials were in place at the skate park on Monday, plans are starting to come together to remember Pavlov – a former Alder Grove Academy student in North Auburn – in a mural on the brick sound wall at the park, he said.

The mural may also pay tribute to other people in their teens or twenties who have been part of the Auburn skateboarding scene who have died in the past few months, including Matt Steele, Burzinski said. Steele was stabbed to death last month in El Dorado County. An 18-year-old El Dorado County man has been charged with murder in his death.