Deputies in Butte County, California arrest suspect in 1991 cold case murder

Deputies arrested 55-year-old Richard Pyle, of Stockton on the evening of Aug. 15, 2019.

Posted: Aug 19, 2019 11:57 AM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. — The Butte County Sheriff's Office has arrested a suspect in the 1991 cold case murder of Tracy Zandstra.

Deputies arrested 55-year-old Richard Pyle, of Stockton on the evening of Aug. 15, 2019.

The investigation began as a missing person case involving Zandstra, who was 29-years-old. She was reported to have disappeared from her home in Stirling City, in Nov. 1991. At the time, Pyle and Zandstra were romantically involved and living together, according to the Butte County Sheriff's Office.

For the next 27 years, investigators continued to look into her disappearance.

Her body has never been found.

Detectives discovered evidence showing Zandstra was murdered, and her body disposed of, the Butte County Sheriff's Office said.

In August 2019 the Butte County Sheriff's Office and the Butte County District Attorney’s Office obtained an arrest warrant for Pyle. Law enforcement agencies from Stockton assisted in locating Pyle, who was listed as a transient, according to the Butte County Sheriff's Office.

He is now behind bars in the Butte County Jail, with bail set at $1,000,000.

Pyle is expected to be arraigned Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, at 3:00 P.M. in the Butte County Superior Court.

Sheriff Kory Honea spoke out about the efforts of investigators, saying “I am proud of the persistent determination of the many Detectives and Investigators who have worked throughout the years to bring justice to Tracy and closure to her family.”

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