Truckee body dumping case still a mystery | SierraSun.com
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Truckee body dumping case still a mystery

Paul Raymore
Sierra Sun

There are still no answers as to how Cynthia Erler’s dead body wound up bound, stuffed in a duffel bag and dumped in a Tahoe Donner parking lot on Feb. 28.

Officers with the Truckee and Reno police departments are still awaiting further results from toxicology tests that may shed light on what killed Erler, a 54-year-old transient woman known to frequent the area around Fourth Street in Reno.

No arrests have yet been made in the case, and according to Lt. Dan Johnston of the Truckee Police Department, no one has come forward with any usable information about Erler’s death.

Police initially began the investigation as a murder case. But after autopsy reports came back showing no wounds or obvious causes of death, investigators are also looking into whether the woman may have died of a drug overdose or natural causes.

Investigators did get a little more insight into Erler’s health from a preliminary report by the Nevada County Coroner.

“There were multiple drugs found in her system, none of which was a lethal dose,” Johnston said. “Also, she was found to be suffering from severe heart disease. But due to the circumstances of her discovery and the way she was placed in the bag, the preliminary finding of the coroner is ‘unknown cause of death’ at this time.”

Further tests are being run to try to determine what exactly killed Erler, and according to Johnston, both Truckee detectives are still cooperating with detectives in Reno and are actively following any leads they get in an attempt to figure out how her body ended up in Truckee.

If Erler died of natural causes, someone who “deposits or disposes” of a non-cremated body, without a license, can face misdemeanor charges, said Nevada County District Attorney Michael Ferguson.

Police said the woman’s body was not treated well after she died. Although small, approximately 5-feet-4-inches tall and just more than 100 pounds, the woman’s body had to be manipulated to fit it inside the fairly small duffel bag.


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