January 4, 2013 | Back to: News

Body of missing 19-year-old college student found behind Lake Tahoe snow bank

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. - The body of 19-year-old Petaluma resident Alyssa Byrne was found Friday morning in South Lake Tahoe.

In a Friday morning press conference, Douglas County Undersheriff Paul Howell said a utility worker in an elevated truck saw Byrne's body behind a high snow bank 10 feet off Pioneer Trail between Al Tahoe Boulevard and Black Bart Avenue about 8:30 a.m.

Police said her body was just off the roadway about 1 mile west of Lake Tahoe Community College, where the SnowGlobe Music Festival was held before and on New Year's Eve. Her body looked like it had been there for a couple days, he said.

According to the National Weather Service, the temperature dropped to 3 degrees Jan. 1 and fell to minus-1 degree on Jan. 2.

While Howell did not want to speculate on the circumstances, he said the location could have been along a route someone who missed the SnowGlobe passenger shuttle may have taken.

Earlier reports stated that Byrne had made it back to Horizon Casino Resort on New Year's Eve, but police were unable to spot her on security footage.

Howell said police do not have evidence of foul play, and there were no outward signs of trauma to the body. El Dorado County Sheriff's Office will conduct an autopsy.

Pioneer Trail was closed as of midday Friday between Al Tahoe and Black Bart Avenue.

The discovery of the body comes after a three-day search for Byrne, who was reported missing Jan. 1 after coming to South Lake Tahoe to attend SnowGlobe. Family members and friends helped officials from South Lake Tahoe Police Department, Douglas County and El Dorado County sheriff's departments, Douglas County Search and Rescue, FBI and Washoe County Sheriff's Office in the search.

On Friday, Kindred Murillo, president of Lake Tahoe Community College, said more facts are needed before the college discusses whether or not the case will impact the music festival's future in the South Shore.

The college was planning to discuss the event before Byrne was reported missing, Murillo said, and once the board has more information, officials will move forward with a decision.

Comment the college has received regarding the event have been mostly positive, said Murillo, and she hasn't heard complaints about transportation to and from the event.

"I think SnowGlobe did everything they could to make sure attendees were safe," Murillo said. "I don't think we'd be doing our job if we didn't look at this. It has to affect (the discussion) because the thing you always have to try to do when you're an educator and community member is provide the safest environment you can."


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jan 4, 2013 04:43PM Published Jan 4, 2013 04:42PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.