The Mountain Messenger

Woman Found Dead in Home, Suspected Bear Encounter


Press Release by Sierra County Sheriff's Office

DOWNIEVILLE — Sierra County Sheriff’s deputies discovered a woman deceased in her residence, with evidence suggesting a subsequent encounter with a bear. The Sierra County Sheriff’s Office and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are actively investigating the circumstances surrounding this incident.

On November 8, 2023, deputies were requested to conduct a welfare check in Downieville. The requesting party indicated that Patrice Miller had not been seen or heard from in several days. Upon arrival at the residence, deputies forced entry into the home and discovered Patrice Miller, a 71-year-old resident of Downieville, deceased inside her home. Preliminary investigation indicates that she passed away prior to the bear's involvement.

The cause of death is still under investigation, and the sheriff’s office is working with Fish and Wildlife to piece together the sequence of events leading up to this incident. It is believed that Patr...