Body found in Tahoe identified
December 29, 2006
Sandra Jean Gray-Preston, a 57-year-old South Lake Tahoe resident, was identified as the woman found floating in Lake Tahoe near Timbercove Marina.
A Friday autopsy revealed Gray-Preston died from drowning and hypothermia. The U.S. Coast Guard reported the surface temperature of Lake Tahoe at 40 degrees when Gray-Preston was found.
Since details are few, the South Lake Tahoe Police Department is treating her death as suspicious.
There were no signs of trauma, such as bruises or choke marks, authorities said.
Results from a toxicology exam, which tests what was in her body, will arrive in several weeks.
Police Lt. Marty Hale said Gray-Preston was in the water for a short period. Coroner Larry Olsen, with the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department, said the frigid waters of Lake Tahoe helped preserve her body.
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She was not reported missing before her body was found, Hale said.
Gray-Preston moved to South Lake Tahoe in December from Elk Grove, Calif., where she has family, according to Lt. Marty Hale.
An attempt to reach family members was unsuccessful.
Hale said Gray-Preston was not working and was divorced with children. She was living at Lakeland Village, along Lake Tahoe Boulevard and several blocks east of Timbercove Marina, where she was found.
Her body was spotted Thursday morning by a man walking his dog and retrieved by South Lake Tahoe Police Sgt. Dave Stevenson.
Hale said a white coat found around 2 p.m., about six hours after Gray-Preston’s body was discovered, contained items that led to her identity.
Fingerprints provided to the Department of Justice also led to her identification, Hale said.
Investigators searched the Lake Tahoe shoreline Friday for clues.
“We’re still moving forward on trying to find the answers,” Hale said.
Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact the South Lake Tahoe Police Department at (530) 542-6100.
• Contact reporter William Ferchland at email@example.com.