COLUMBIA (CBS13) – Detectives have released violent details about the killing of a woman whose body was found after a house fire in Tuolumne County.

The incident happened back on Aug. 13. Deputies and firefighters responded to Calle Quartz Road, near Adelleana Lane, in the Big Hill area of Columbia around 6 a.m. to find a home engulfed in flames. The fire spread to nearby vegetation, forcing some homes to be evacuated.

Crews were able to contain the fire to a quarter of an acre. Later in the day, the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office announced that a body had been found in the home.

Wednesday, the sheriff’s office identified the woman as 39-year-old Dionecia Valencia.

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More information that paints a fuller picture of the incident was also released by detectives.

Detectives say Valencia was killed the night before the fire. According to the Stanislaus County Coroner’s Office, who did the autopsy on Valencia, it appears she died of “multiple sharp force and chop force injuries.”

“It’s horrific and scary something like that happened out in our neck of the woods,” Chris Smith, Valencia’s neighbor, said.

Two 16-year-old boys had already been arrested in connection to the killing. Detectives are now saying that the pair ambushed Valenica, attacking her with multiple bladed weapons.

The teens – who were spotted by deputies walking away from the fire area on Aug. 13 – knew Valencia, but their exact relationship with her is unclear. Both boys are under arrest and are being held on charges of murder, attempted murder and arson.

Smith said he has a message for everyone who lives in Tuolomne County who may see or hear anything happening in their neighborhoods.

“If you hear about this so if you know something speak up,” Smith said. “You’re not snitching or telling on somebody. Somebody got murdered. You’re not going to get in trouble.”


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