19-Year-Old Hadn't Been Seen Since New Year's Eve

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (CBS13) – The body of a 19-year-old Petaluma girl has been found in South Lake Tahoe.

Alyssa Byrne went missing after attending a concert on New Year’s Eve. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Department held a news conference Friday morning at 10 a.m. with the development.

Alyssa Byrne (source: Facebook)

Alyssa Byrne (source: Facebook)

Her body was found by a utility worker over a snowbank off Pioneer Trail at about 8:30 a.m. Friday morning. There were “no outward signs of foul play” on the teen’s body, Undersheriff Paul Howell said. He said Alyssa’s body was about 10 feet off the roadway.

“Our entire family is devastated,” her father, Kevin Byrne, said in emailed statement. “We were still holding out hope that she would be found safe. We will miss Alyssa and she will be in our hearts forever.”

Alyssa left her Petaluma home with friends Saturday, headed for the SnowGlobe music festival at Lake Tahoe Community College.

Investigators say the 19-year-old left her friends on New Year’s Eve for a shuttle bus back to the Horizon Hotel and Casino at Stateline after the concert, but she apparently decided to walk back instead.

Her body was found about 5 miles from the hotel but she was headed in the wrong direction on Pioneer Trail if she was trying to walk back to the hotel from the college, according to Lt. Pete Van Arnum with the El Dorado Sheriff’s Office, which is taking over the death investigation because Alyssa’s body was found in its jurisdiction.

Temperatures that night at the time of the concert were between 0 and 10 degrees, Howell said.

She also posted some tweets on Monday about about a falling out with a friend. The sheriff’s office confirmed the Twitter account was hers and said they spoke to the person she was referring to, but again, no foul play is suspected in her death, Howell said.

“We’ll try to get an answer for the family,” as to the circumstances leading up to her death, Howell said.

Alyssa’s father was in the Tahoe area helping with the search and confirmed the identity of the body, Van Arnum said.

Her brother and mother spoke briefly to reporters Friday outside their Petaluma home.

“She was a great girl and she’ll really be missed,” he said.

An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

Alyssa was spotted around then in the casino’s bar. Investigators combed through surveillance footage, and also launched an air search. They were preparing their search teams again Friday when the utility worker, who was driving an elevated truck, spotted her body lying on the snow berm, Howell said.

RAW VIDEO: Douglas County Sheriff’s Press Conference

“I’m hoping that she’s just out there being a typical teenager and having a great time, letting time slip away from her,” said her mother, Kim, on Thursday before her daughter’s body had been found.

A Facebook page was set up by friends during the search for her and that page turned into a guest book of condolences Friday as news spread of her death.

A candlelight vigil will be held at 7 p.m. at her old high school, Casa Grande, in Petaluma.


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