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Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: Was 1990s case of Roseville woman found dead in Clarksburg vineyard solved?

Published: Wednesday, Mar. 5, 2014 - 10:01 pm

Around 1996, Sandra Lee Tafoya was found dead in a vineyard near Clarksburg. Was the crime ever solved?

– Sandy, Sacramento

There are a no reports of an arrest in the death of Sandra Lee Tafoya, 42, who was found shot to death in the trunk of her car in October 1996, a day after her father reported her missing from her Roseville home.

Tafoya was a self-employed real estate agent in Roseville and the mother of three children.

According to stories in The Bee, an autopsy revealed that she had been shot numerous times, including twice at close range. Yolo County detectives theorized that she had been killed elsewhere, then driven to the spot in the vineyard near Clarksburg where the car was abandoned. Her body was found by farm workers.

Detectives said that shortly after Tafoya left her home for the last time, an unidentified man was photographed by ATM cameras tapping into her bank account for $900. Neither Tafoya’s father nor other people associated with the family recognized the man in the pictures.

Investigators said he was not Rakesh Kohl, the man Tafoya married in July 1996 and left three weeks later. That marriage, Tafoya’s third, was nullified by a court in October, shortly before her death. Detectives reportedly were looking for Kohl in the months following Tafoya’s death but had been unable to find him.


Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

Read more articles by Cathy Locke



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