The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said a Fresno woman who did not return home from a shopping trip in December was found dead in the Sierra Nevada.
37-year-old Samantha Tomlinson previously lived in the East Bay.
She was last seen on December 3 at a Costco store in Fresno. When she did not return home, a roommate reported her missing.
Tomlinson had said she was going to do some work, and she left her beloved dog behind. Surveillance video confirmed she was at Costco around noon.
Because Tomlinson was an avid traveler who frequently visited the Sierra National Forest and Sequoia National Park, explorers from the Sheriff’s Office, Forest Service and California Highway Patrol focused on those areas, but none of his 2002 Honda Civic. Signal not found. Tomlinson didn’t take outdoor gear with her and was unprepared for winter hiking when she disappeared.
Last Monday, May 2, a Civic was abandoned off Dinky Creek Road, in the Sierra National Forest, 10 miles east of the community of Shaver Lake and about 60 miles drive from Fresno. The license plate matched Tomlinson’s car.
The car is believed to have been covered with snow since December.
About 20 search and rescue team members went to the area, and on May 4 the bones were found about half a mile from the car. On Friday, May 6, a comparison of dental records confirmed that the remains belonged to Tomlinson.
The sheriff’s office said no foul play was suspected.
Tomlinson attended Diablo Valley College and Cal State Fresno. He worked for agriculture departments in Alameda and Contra Costa counties before moving to Fresno in 2013, where he trained and handled assist dogs in county agricultural oversight.