Police investigate transient woman found dead in Auburn

Cause of death still being investigated Friday
By: Jon Schultz, Journal Staff Writer
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Police investigated the body of a transient woman found Friday at an encampment off the trail running behind Westamerica Bank in Auburn, between Grass Valley Highway and Auburn Ravine Road.

The identity of the person, who is believed to be in her 40s, and cause of death were still under investigation Friday, said Auburn Police Department Sgt. Rick Hardesty. He could not speak to whether foul play had been ruled out as police continued to gather information about the death.

Several officers began surveying the site where a pile of blankets lay near a hilltop rock outcropping west of the wooded path around 1 p.m.

“This is an area well known for many encampments,” Hardesty said. “We’ve had problems over the years with transients camping, as you can see (pointing to a nearby mattress), in this area.”

Kelley Jones said he is homeless and had been surveying the area when he came across a tent that had its screen open and he saw what looked like a pile of refuse. When he attempted to lift the tent to confirm what it was, he said the tent collapsed and revealed the form of a body, he said.

“I just reached over, kicked the side about middle ways, and it almost formed to the shape of a leg,” Jones said. “It was solid, so I just picked (the tent) up, cut it open with my Leatherman, and saw the body inside, came down and called 911.”

Jones said the body appeared to have been there long enough for rigor mortis to set in.

Hardesty said police proactively monitor the area because of the transient issue.

“We make contact with the transients, we try to encourage where the services are as well as inform them that there is no camping allowed in the city limits,” he said. “When we receive complaints from the public, we are out here.”

Hardesty requested people with information on the incident to call the Auburn Police Department at (530) 823-4237.


Jon Schultz can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Jon_AJNews