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Crime

Body of College Student Missing Since March Found in California River

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Police and family members are still without answers after confirming that a body found Sunday in northern California’s Feather River is that of Alycia Yeoman, a 20-year-old college student last seen on the night of March 30.

Her family has now renamed its “Find Alycia Yeoman” Facebook page to “Justice for Aly Yeoman.”

“The cause and manner of death is still under investigation,” the Sutter County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday in a news release. “The investigation into this incident remains ongoing.”

Yeoman, of Gridley, California, was reported missing by her family on April 1 after she failed to show up for work two days in a row.

Her green 1998 Toyota Tacoma pickup was located by authorities two days later mired in mud in an orchard in Live Oak, between Gridley and the Yuba City home of a friend she reportedly visited on March 3. There was a single set of unidentified footprints from the truck, walking away. Yeoman’s cell phone was located nearby.

Farm workers who reported spotting the truck said it had not moved for a couple of days. A homeowner’s surveillance video had caught the truck on camera just before 11 p.m. as it was driven around a gate and then on top of a levee along the orchard. The vehicle then apparently traveled down the levee and outside of camera range before it became stuck, authorities said.

Early reports of Yeoman’s disappearance said she was last spotted behind the wheel after she left her male friend’s Yuba City home. Authorities later revised that timeline, and said she was last seen at 7:51 p.m. on the way to her friend’s home.

That friend, Michael Lizarraga, told KCRA before Yeoman’s body was found that the two had gone out to dinner at an Indian restaurant and then returned to his home — he said his son and nephew also were at the home — where they drank from a bottle of wine that he says Yeoman had brought with her.

“She was coming in to town and she mentioned she wanted to talk about this new guy that she kind of had a crush on and asking for my opinion,” Lizarraga said. He and Yeoman had been friends “for a little over a year,” staying in touch primarily through Snapchat, he said.

“I’ve been around her twice, but she was a good friend,” he said. “And she was always positive, so I appreciated that.”

He says he didn’t know that Yeoman was underage when she was drinking the wine, but that he encouraged her to create a memory by writing on the cork as a keepsake. “I put it up there with the corks and when she left she was like just happy,” he said. “Happy about life.”

Because she’d been drinking, he said he encouraged her to stay and sleep on the couch. “She said no,” he said. “So I walked her out, and made her promise me like three times — text me when you get home, and she was like, ‘I will.’ And I said, ‘Pinky promise,’ and then she drove off.”

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He said police have since executed a search warrant of his home, collecting his computers, along with his daughter’s and son’s tablets and “any kind of cameras.”

He said he does not believe he’s a person of interest in her disappearance.

“I don’t believe that at all,” he said. “If they ever thought that, I wouldn’t be here, and all the evidence — I have the truth on my side. So, all the evidence that they took — computers, my carpets, my rugs — they’re just doing their job.”

Asked what he thought may have happened to Yeoman, he answered: “I got a million things going on in my brain. Who did she meet up with? Who was she texting? Did she stop? Something was wrong with her truck? I don’t know.”

Authorities say an angler fishing in the Feather River called the Sutter County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center at 12:46 p.m. Sunday, May 7, to report an unidentified body in the river south of the Live Oak Recreational Park boat launch.

The identity was confirmed through dental records and made public Tuesday.

“The Sutter County Sheriff’s Office extends our deepest sympathies to the Aly Yeoman family,” the office said in a statement.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 530-822-7307.