El Dorado Hills woman found dead in church parking lot, sheriff says

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release Wednesday night reporting that Brooke Ann Harris was found dead, after the department was dispatched to a report of an unresponsive female in a vehicle at a local church parking lot.

Investigators said earlier Wednesday they have found no evidence of foul play or criminal activity in the disappearance of Harris, 48, who was reported missing Thursday and was last seen by her daughter a day earlier, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office said.

Her cellphone was found in her home Thursday after she had placed a call to her husband that morning. Surveillance cameras at Red Hawk Casino near Placerville spotted Harris at 4:30 p.m. that day, apparently alone.

“We have investigated Brooke’s family and have found no evidence to suggest that anyone was involved in her disappearance,” the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department said in a Facebook post Wednesday. “The family has been completely cooperative throughout this entire investigation ... at this time, we believe that Brooke left on her own volition.”

That revelation by the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office came as new details emerged about Harris. She is a registered nurse who was fired in 2014 and later surrendered her license, according to state Department of Consumer Affairs documents. Her license was reinstated by the state board less than a week before she disappeared, documents show.

That episode and other details of Harris’ life were circulated on social media and confirmed by The Sacramento Bee.

Harris was a registered nurse in California who surrendered her license in the summer of 2016, according to documents available from the state Department of Consumer Affairs. Harris’ petition for reinstatement was submitted last April to the Board of Registered Nurses, and Board President Trande Phillips on Jan. 10 signed an order reinstating Harris’ license with a three-year probation period, taking effect Feb. 8.

Both the stipulation of surrender and petition for reinstatement say Harris was fired for admitting to drinking alcohol while working as a hospice nurse.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Anthony Principe said detectives are aware of the nursing board documents, but could not specify exactly when the documents were brought to the department’s attention.

“We are aware of the public documents,” Principe said Wednesday morning before the latest social media update. “We are aware of everything that’s been circulating.”

Factual findings within Harris’ petition show Harris was terminated from employment at Hospice of the East Bay in April 2014 after drinking vodka at work, and that she brought the alcohol to work because she suffered severe anxiety about seeing her husband. She admitted to drinking on the job and was fired on April 15, 2014, documents show.

The petition concludes by noting Harris’ intent to return to hospice care if she were reinstated, and with six letters of recommendation, including letters by her husband, by the vice president of patient care at John Muir Medical Center during her time working as a nurse there, and by her primary care physician.

Harris’ petition for reinstatement was granted on the condition of a three-year probation period and with clauses that would cancel her reinstatement if she failed to obey any laws, failed to appear at meetings with the Board of Registered Nurses or applied for licensing in another state.

The documents are publicly available via the Board of Registered Nursing, and those documents were shared or mentioned multiple times in the comments section of an El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office post to Facebook on Sunday that announced Harris had gone missing.

The original Facebook post by the Sheriff’s Office was shared nearly 20,000 times, and the comments section with more than 700 messages contained statements regarding Harris, including conflicting reports that she had been spotted in various parts of the state.

Wednesday’s update by the Sheriff’s Office said many of these comments are “not helpful in assisting us in locating Brooke.”

“While this information is public record it is information that can be hurtful to the family members,” the post continued.

Harris’ husband, Manny Harris, is a firefighter and also a registered nurse, according to petition documents. Photos posted Tuesday of Brooke Harris’ vehicle, a gray Toyota Highlander with California license plates, shows a sticker for the International Association of Firefighters on the bottom left corner of the rear windshield.

The investigation of Brooke Harris’ disappearance remains active, and the Sheriff’s Office continues to urge anyone with information to contact dispatch at 530-621-6600.

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Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.