Possible tie in kidnapping, murder cases
A Sacramento couple suspected of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a Reno college student is under investigation for possible ties to the death of a Pleasanton woman found last week in Hope Valley.
The FBI admitted that it was working with the Pleasanton Police Department. However, no agency has confirmed that James Anthony Daveggio, 37 and Michelle Lyn Michaud, 39, are suspects in the strangulation death of 22-year-old Vanessa Lei Samson.
The two were arrested Wednesday at the Lakeside Inn & Casino for allegedly kidnapping and sexually assaulting the Reno woman in September. Daveggio is being held in Washoe County Jail in Reno. Michaud is being held in Douglas County’s Stateline Jail.
An FBI agent out of the Reno office said the agency was sharing information with the Pleasanton authorities due in part to the fact that Daveggio and Michaud were arrested in Lake Tahoe the day before Samson’s body was found not far away. Also the Reno woman, 20, abducted as she walked home from school, was released in Auburn, Calif., which is between Reno and Pleasanton.
The couple’s green 1994 Dodge Caravan was taken at the time of their arrest. FBI officials said they are sharing evidence recovered from the vehicle with Pleasanton investigators but would not comment on the nature of the evidence.
Samson disappeared Dec. 2, after she left the residence she shared with her parents, a brother and a sister, to walk to work at a nearby insurance firm. She was found two days later – 30 feet down a snow-covered embankment off Highway 88 in Hope Valley. Investigators don’t believe that Samson knew her attackers and robbery doesn’t appear to be a motive since her wallet with cash still inside and her checkbook were found with the body.
Alpine County Sheriff Henry “Skip” Veatch, said an autopsy confirmed that Samson was strangled. Tests that would reveal if she was also sexually assaulted will not be finished for several more weeks.
Pleasanton officials said they expect to make an announcement on suspects in the Samson case later this week.
Daveggio, a registered sex offender in California, was taken into custody by FBI agents on a federal warrant at Lakeside Inn and later transferred to Reno. Michaud was booked on a warrant from Placer County charging her with kidnapping, rape and rape with a foreign object in connection with the Reno victim.
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