STOCKTON (CBS13) — Stockton Police have declared the 1990 death of a woman whose remains were found in a Manteca backyard a homicide.

Karen Sterzl was reported missing in 1990. She was last seen in December of that year on a houseboat in the Stockton marina where police say the 36-year-old lived with her boyfriend of a decade.

Her boyfriend at the time, Billie Faulkner, is the suspect in her death, Stockton Police revealed on Tuesday.

Faulkner lived at the residence until his death in July 2012.

A very specific and anonymous tip in late May led police to the Manteca home. They dug up a bag of skeletal remains in the backyard that have since been identified through dental records as Karen Sterzl.

Faulkner told authorities at the time that Sterzl had gone to her mother’s home in Montana. Sterzl’s mother said she never heard that her daughter was coming, and her daughter never showed up.

Neighbors say before he left town, the man who lived here with his wife told them something that has them really wondering now/

“Friends of mine told me they talked to that gentleman that lived over there, and that he told them that the landlord told him not to be digging around in the backyard or anything,” said neighbor Deon Hill. “That’s why he had to put his dogs in the front yard.”


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