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A year after she went missing in South Lake Tahoe, Sacramento woman's death is ruled an accident

Pamela Suwinsky
Pamela Suwinsky South Lake Tahoe Police Department

A year to the day after Sacramento resident Pamela Suwinsky went missing from a South Lake Tahoe motel, authorities announced that her death has been ruled an accidental drowning.

The South Lake Tahoe Police Department on Tuesday released the findings of a year-long investigation by local police and partner agencies.

Suwinsky, 62, was reported missing April 3, 2017, by her ex-husband. She was last seen that afternoon after walking away from the Motel 6 at 2375 Lake Tahoe Blvd. She had identification and credit cards with her, but left behind her dog, cellphone, car and purse.

Suwinsky's body was found six days later by the El Dorado County Dive Team in the Upper Truckee River, within a mile of the motel.

The circumstances surrounding her death were deemed suspicious. The initial autopsy showed that Suwinsky had drowned, but how she ended up drowning was of concern to investigators, who found statements made by her ex-husband to be suspicious, according to Tuesday's news release.

Police launched a full homicide investigation. and, during the past year, several search warrants were executed in various jurisdictions, including Sacramento and San Jose, the news release said. Numerous interviews also were conducted, cellphone tower information was collected, and evidence was processed.

“In the end, SLTPD along with our partner agencies are confident that this was a tragic accident and the El Dorado County Coroner has ruled her death an accidental drowning,” the news release said, adding that police are closing the investigation.

South Lake Tahoe police were assisted in the investigation by the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office and the San Jose Police Department.

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