Sheriff Issues Warning to Community After Bear Discovered in Home of Deceased Woman in Downieville


A woman was found dead in her home in Downieville; Sierra County Sheriffs and the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife are investigating after a bear was discovered to have broken into the home, though possibly after her death.

A welfare check was requested to the sheriff’s office on November 8, 2023, for Patrice Miller by an acquaintance of the victim, as she had not been seen or heard from in several days.

At arrival, deputies discovered 71-year-old Patrice deceased. Investigators say the initial investigation indicates that she passed away before the bear’s involvement.”

The circumstances surrounding the death are currently being investigated, and the sheriff’s office is collaborating with Fish and Wildlife to reconstruct the sequence of events leading to this incident. There is a belief that Patrice Miller passed away before a bear gained access to the residence, possibly attracted by scent or other factors.

In response to the incident, Officials from Fish and Wildlife are teaming up with the sheriff’s office to keep the community safe and assess the bear’s activity. If you live near Downieville, the Sheriff’s office urges you to remain cautious and do things like closing doors and windows at night, locking your car, and getting rid of any food outside to avoid running into wildlife.