Arrest made 18 years after woman found dead in California river
A 75-year-old man was arrested and charged in a cold case from 2005, California police announced on Sunday.
Philip William Frase was arrested by investigators from the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office on Feb. 6, the office said in a statement on Facebook. He has been formally arraigned in the Sisikyou County Superior Court and charged in the “unlawful killing” of Patricia Joseph, a woman whose body was found in the Klamath River several days after being reported missing, police said.
Joseph was 56 at the time of her death. She was found partially clothed and had been in the water for several days, police said, and a forensic autopsy revealed that she had died from multiple blunt force traumas and asphyxia.
Joseph’s death was solved by a cold case and forensic evidence team that was established by Siskiyou County Sheriff Jeremiah LaRue in early 2021. The team prioritizes cold cases and reviews physical evidence using modern tools, the office said in their statement. The cold case team “completed a comprehensive review” of the initial investigation into Joseph’s death, and “re-submitted evidence to the Department of Justice.” That analysis “produced compelling results” that connected Frase to the crime.
“This arrest is the result of the determination of our investigators and reflects our faithful commitment to pursuing justice for victims of violent crimes and their families,” LaRue said. “Our cold case team will continue to focus on these cases with dedication. I would like to commend everyone for their devotion to this investigation and thank the District Attorney’s Office for their assistance. Our hearts are with Patricia’s family, and we hope this arrest begins the path toward closure and healing.”
Frase remains in custody on $2 million bond, as well as an additional $15,000 bond for a “failure to appear” charge. Jail records show that Frase has been charged with murder.