Crime - Sacto 911

New clues sought in 1982 deaths of casino workers

The El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office is seeking new information in the 1982 deaths of two South Lake Tahoe casino employees whose bodies were found in the south fork of the American River several months after they disappeared from their home.

Julie Schossow and Marilyn Putt were close friends and both worked as blackjack dealers at the Harrah’s Casino in South Lake Tahoe, where they were closely associated with other casino employees, according to a District Attorney’s Office news release. They were together when they disappeared from their home around midnight Jan. 12 or the early hours of Jan. 13, 1982. Investigators believe both were kidnapped and held captive for approximately three months somewhere between the South Lake Tahoe and Placerville areas.

Almost six months later, on June 6, 1982, Putt’s body was discovered in the south fork of the American River, a mile west of the area known as Chili Bar off Highway 193. Her body had been weighted with chains and binding material. The cause of death, authorities said, appeared to be ligature strangulation. The time of death was estimated to be six to eight weeks before her body was found.

A month later, on July 9, Schossow’s body was discovered, also in the south fork of the American River, about 150 yards from where Putt’s body was found. A cord was tightly wrapped around her neck two times, and the coroner could not rule out that she might have been bound together with Putt, authorities said. She also appeared to have died from ligature strangulation six to eight weeks before her body was found.

Although not a member herself, Putt was closely associated with several leading members of the Church of Scientology, according to the DA’s Office.

The District Attorney’s Office released a video Thursday providing an overview of the case. They ask anyone with information pertaining to the case to call Robert Cosley, chief investigator, at 530-903-8468 or email him at

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy