Missing Napa resident found dead in the river; investigation continues

2 mins read

The missing woman Crystal Lea McCarthy was discovered dead in the Napa River, leading the then-missing case into a death probe, SFGATE reported.

Last December 14, the 37-year-old McCarthy disappeared after she ran some errand.

The Napa resident was last spotted on Silverado Trail and Lincoln Avenue the night before she went missing, the Napa Police Department said, citing surveillance footage from a convenience store.

Before leaving the store, McCarthy was seen talking to a homeless man, the police said. The man, according to investigators, was seen and spoken to by authorities and was not suspected of any involvement in the case.

The woman’s father Mark McCarthy said his daughter seemed “fine” when he talked with her through text messages. “She sounded fine. We were checking back and forth like we do daily,” he told KRON.

A search was launched by McCarthy’s friends and family. This led her boyfriend in finding her umbrella and boots on the Napa River banks.

A human body was recovered by the sheriff’s deputy on a patrol boat near the Third Street Bridge last Dec. 23. On Wednesday, the body was confirmed by an autopsy to belong to McCarthy.

Crystal Lea McCarthy, 37, was last seen on this 7-Eleven surveillance footage from Dec. 13, 2021.

The cause of death could be identified through more testing. For many weeks, no further information will be available at the Napa County Sheriff’s forensic pathologist regarding the case.

“I feel upset. I want answers, and I don’t feel like I am getting answers,” the victim’s father said.

Investigators are looking at the possibility that Crystal McCarthy drowned in raging Napa River waters, which is triggered by rainy weather.

“We suspect she went in the rushing river based on the proximity of her personal belongings, but it is entirely possible she walked away or was taken away,” Napa police Sgt. Pete Piersig told the Napa Valley Register. “Since we can’t rule out that she met foul play, we will continue to investigate.”

Napa Police Detective Brandt Keown will welcome any details linked to the case at 707-257-9592.

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