One year later: Tahoe Donner homicide still unsolved
Tahoe Daily Tribune
TRUCKEE, Calif. – A year ago today, Beverly Beatrice Williams was found dead in her Tahoe Donner home on Bavarian Way.
In the weeks that followed, Truckee Police called Williams’ April 30, 2009, death a homicide, reporting the cause as blunt force trauma. Police conducted interviews with friends and family, and sent evidence for processing to the California Department of Justice.
But now, a year later, almost no information has been released, and the case is still unsolved.
“We’re still running with an open investigation – progress is slow, but we are making some progress,” said Capt. Harwood Mitchell of Truckee Police Department.
He attributed the long wait to the evidence processing by the California Department of Justice, out of local control.
“The situation is unfortunate, but it is what it is. We’re all experiencing budget cuts and time constraints,” Mitchell said.
A California Department of Justice spokesperson confirmed it is working with Truckee Police, but declined further comment on the investigation.
“I’m astonished by how long it’s taking to get results from the Department of Justice,” said Bill Cornell, the deputy district attorney for Nevada County.
He said the case is still unfilled, as his office waits for the evidence to be processed.
Cornell said some information has come back from the Department of Justice, prompting further analysis, but Mitchell said it’s not enough to come to any conclusions yet.
“We basically need the whole package – we need 100 percent of the evidence before we proceed,” Mitchell said.
When Truckee Police does get all the evidence back from the California Department of Justice, Mitchell said he is hopeful it will be able to name a suspect.
“We will continue to exhaust every opportunity we have,” Mitchell said.
After the homicide, Truckee Police temporarily increased patrol in the Tahoe Donner neighborhood, but stressed they had no reason to believe the Truckee population was at risk, but would not say why.
According to Kirt Zimmer, director of marketing for the Tahoe Donner Association, residents of the 6,000-lot subdivision have come to feel the same way.
“I’ve spoken with people and I think the consensus is that this tragedy was really an anomaly for Tahoe Donner, and it’s a very safe and wholesome place to live,” Zimmer said. “It’s a very sad situation, but we don’t feel like there is any ongoing danger.”
For friends like Lydia Sparksworthy, who served with Williams on the Friends of the Truckee Library, Williams’ death at 77 is still very difficult.
“She was a wonderful member of the community – we really miss her,” Sparksworthy said. “It must be so heartbreaking for her family.”
Williams’ husband Don thanked the Sierra Sun for continued attention to his wife’s death, but deferred comment to his attorney, Thomas Leupp of Auburn, who did not return calls.
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