< Back to All News

Auburn Cold Case Arrest

Detectives from the Auburn Police Department and Investigators from the Placer County District Attorney’s Office, Cold Case Unit arrested Patricia Lee Thomas, a.k.a. Patricia Lee Howell, 66, of Grass Valley last night for the murder of her four-year-old daughter.  The child’s death occurred on May 25, 1970 in the city of Auburn, and was initially reported as a bathtub drowning.  Information recently obtained by law enforcement initiated the reopening of the investigation.  That investigation led to additional evidence that resulted in last night’s arrest of Thomas.

Thomas is charged with a single count of murder in violation of Penal Code Section 187.  She will be arraigned in Department 13 of the Placer County Superior Court on Monday at 1:30 p.m., and is being held without bail at the Placer County Jail in Auburn. 

Auburn Police Chief Ruffcorn calls the crime horrendous.

“This horrendous criminal act occurred 42 years ago. It was a collaborative effort investigation between the two agencies was instrumental in this arrest.”

Aspects of the case continue to be investigated; therefore further comment on the case would not be appropriate at this time.

KNCO Web Comments Guidelines

  1. Keep it clean. Comments with inappropriate language, no matter how cleverly spelled or decorated will not be posted.
  2. Comments on the way the story was written or misspelled words will be passed on to the story authors and not posted.
  3. Please use your real name. Anonymous comments or comments posted using a fake name or web handle may not be posted.
  4. Please use your real email address so we can contact you.
  5. No flaming. Any comments that are primarily of a name calling finger pointing nature may not be posted.
  6. The comment section is not a right it is a privilege. KNCO retains all rights as to what is posted on its website.

Leave A Comment



* captcha