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Skeletal remains found in Windsor-area creek linked to missing San Francisco woman

The skeletal remains found in a Windsor-area creek earlier this year following a bout of torrential rains that swept the area belonged to a San Francisco woman who went missing in May 2018, according to authorities.

The body of Reina Argueta, 52, was found in a creek near Chalk Hill and Leslie roads east of Windsor on April 20 when the remains were spotted by a worker who had stopped to relieve himself in the nearby bushes, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Spencer Crum said.

The identity of the remains were a mystery until late last month, when DNA extracted from the body and sent to a state forensics lab matched with a different DNA sample submitted by the San Francisco Police Department in Argueta’s missing persons case, Crum said.

While investigators initially hypothesized that she may have been swept up in a series of strong rains that swelled Sonoma County waterways in February prior to her death, it was unlikely the Sonoma County Coroner’s Office would be able to determine how or why Argueta died based only on her skeleton, Crum said.

The Coroner’s Office was still investigating what Argueta was doing in Sonoma County, as well as why hospital tags were found in her clothing, Crum said. There was no evidence to suggest foul play, he added.

“We don’t know what her connection was to Sonoma County or why she would be out here,” Crum said. “Prior to this, she had no other contacts (with deputies).”

A family member reported Argueta missing to the San Francisco Police Department on May 21, 2018, 11 days after she last saw Argueta in the city’s Mission District, the agency said. The department declined to provide additional information about whether Argueta had prior contact with officers, though a photograph of a missing persons notice for Argueta posted on social media described her as a homeless woman who regularly stayed in a park in the Mission District.

Outreach workers with Catholic Charities, the county’s largest homeless service provider, had no record of contacting Argueta, said Jennielynn Holmes, the nonprofit’s chief program officer.

“She is a mother and a grandmother and they are very worried something happened to her,” the notice said.

Blue and white shoes, two jackets, denim jeans and a fake snake skin belt were among the belongings found on Argueta, according to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System website, a clearinghouse for information on missing and unidentified people.

Argueta’s family did not return a request for comment.

You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or nashelly.chavez@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @nashellytweets.

Nashelly Chavez

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, The Press Democrat 

Who calls the North Bay home and how do their backgrounds, socioeconomic status and other factors shape their experiences? What cultures, traditions and religions are celebrated where we live? These are the questions that drive me as I cover diversity, equity and inclusion in Sonoma County and beyond.   

 

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