GRASS VALLEY (CBS13) — It’s a nightmare that haunted a Northern California woman for more than four decades, except in this case she says it’s real.
After 42 long years, Wendy Peck is speaking publicly for the first time, saying her mother drowned her baby sister.
“She was standing in the tub, holding Cindy’s legs up in the air, and Cindy was under the water,” Peck said.
Police were suspicious about Cindy Howell’s death in 1970 but they didn’t have any evidence, until Peck came forward.
Peck was just 5 when she found her baby sister floating in the tub.
“I thought she was sleeping, and I tried to wake her,” Peck said.
But the brown-haired, green-eyed girl never woke up. The cause of death: asphyxia because of drowning.
“We didn’t talk about Cindy or what had happened that day,” Peck said.
That day was May 25, 1970, and Peck never said a word, holding it in as long as she could.
In 2011, she wrote a letter that made its way to Auburn Police Det. Dustin McLaughlin. That letter turned a closed case into a murder investigation.
“She felt she had a bunch of secrets in her family, and she wanted the secrets to come out,” McLaughlin said.
Before Peck discovered her sister’s body, she saw her in the tub, alive, and Peck says her mother was right there with her.
“When I walked into the bathroom, she was standing in the tub, holding Cindy’s legs up in the air, and Cindy was under the water. She hollered at me to leave,” Peck said.
Minutes later, she would find her sister floating in the bathtub.
“I just couldn’t wake her,” Peck said.