Body is that of 55-year-old South Tahoe woman, police say |

Body is that of 55-year-old South Tahoe woman, police say

Jeff Munson
Jonah M. Kessel / Tahoe Daily Tribune / South Lake Tahoe Police evidence tech Robert Humphrey looks for clues in Barton Meadow last Friday after a dismembered body was found. The body was identified Thursday night as Sandra Petersen, 55, of South Lake Tahoe.

A woman whose dismembered body was found in Barton Meadow last Thursday has been identified as Sandra Denise Petersen, 55, of South Lake Tahoe, authorities said Thursday evening.

The woman lived in a permanent residence in South Lake Tahoe, was married and has family in Carson City. She was not homeless as some residents who had often seen a woman in the meadow had suspected, said South Lake Tahoe Police Lt. Martin Hale.

“Everything was pointing to this particular person based on the description of the woman,” Hale said. “In our investigation, all of our facts had pointed to Sandra Petersen.”

Police talked to a number of people who live near Barton Meadow and had reported often seeing there a blond woman, between 50 and 60, who was occasionally with known homeless people.

It had not been determined whether Petersen frequented the meadow, police said. Also undetermined was whether Petersen lived with her husband, who was contacted Thursday by police.

A forensic autopsy of Petersen was completed Thursday. A cause of death had not been determined, said El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Les Lovell. Results of a toxicology analysis are pending, he added.

Petersen was identified through dental records, according to Hale.

There’s no indication foul play was involved in her death, but the case remains under investigation, Hale said.

“We haven’t ruled it out yet. We are proceeding with caution. There’s no indication of foul play at this particular time,” he said.

The grisly remains of Petersen’s body were discovered Oct. 11 by a resident who was walking in the meadow.

Police have said coyotes disturbed the remains.

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