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Family Suspects Foul Play In Modesto Woman’s Death, Despite Lack Of Evidence

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Nick Janes joined KOVR/KMAX in December 2008 as a reporter. Nick...
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MODESTO (CBS13) — It’s a grim end to a desperate search for a missing Modesto mother and wife.

The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department has tentatively identified a body found on Friday as that of Nicholle Yarnell.

It’s been a month and a half since she was reported missing, last seen at a Modesto liquor store. On Monday, her family got the news they’ve been dreading, and believe she was the victim of foul play.

On a sad, rainy Modesto night, Frank Gideon is haunted by his daughter’s words. It seems Yarnell believed she was in danger, and now she’s gone.

“She told me that if anything happened to her, to watch out for certain people,” he said.

Two workers found a body floating in a pond on a dairy farm on Friday. The sheriff’s department is waiting on DNA results, but based on appearance and clothing lead them to believe it’s the 47-year-old.

In January, her daughter tearfully told CBS13 that Nicholle left home on Jan. 10 to pick up a few things at a nearby convenience store. her truck was parked near Golden West market, with her purse and shopping bags inside.

The pond where her body was discovered nearly two months after her disappearance is close to her home and on the same street as the store.

“I know she didn’t walk in no pond,” Frank Gideon said. “No way. Why would she walk in a pond with the river across the street.”

While he believes she was met with foul play, deputies say there are no obvious signs of that, and it’s unclear how long the body was in the pond.

For now, detectives say her official cause of death is pending toxicology reports and autopsy results.

Yarnell’s family previously said she had been released from the hospital days before her disappearance, and had mental health issues.

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