Reward offered in North Bay murder case

March 15, 2009 6:59:23 PM PDT
Three months after a woman's mysterious murder in downtown San Rafael, police are coming forward with additional details and offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

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Police have been investigating the death of Ashley Yamauchi, 33, since her body was found Dec. 16 in a parking lot behind the Fourth Street Tavern, a popular nightlife and live music spot in the city's downtown.

Yamauchi was a Greenbrae resident and the mother of an 8-year-old girl. She worked as a nanny for a family in San Rafael.

Police said today that Yamauchi died of asphyxiation, and preliminary tests show she had been sexually assaulted.

Yamauchi was seen at the Fourth Street Tavern the night of Dec. 15. A downtown business owner found her partially clad body the next morning.

Investigators have interviewed more than 50 people, scoured Internet discussion forums for leads and reviewed a large number of electronic message transcripts, police said.

The Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation is offering $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person, or people, responsible for Yamauchi's death. The Modesto non-profit organization offers rewards for missing persons or homicide cases in which there are few leads.

Reward fliers will be distributed in downtown San Rafael on Monday, in both English and Spanish. Anyone with information about Yamauchi's death is asked to call San Rafael police at (415) 485-3000.

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