Body recovered from Sacramento River, May 1996
SACRAMENTO, CA - The body of a woman found by a jet skier in the Sacramento River in 1996 has been identified as that of a Chico woman who disappeared four months earlier.
The Butte County Sheriff's Office said a DNA match from her mother led to the identification of Victorene "Vicki" Lee Pyrskalla, who was 42 when she was reported missing from a ranch on Taffee Avenue in Chico in January 1996.
Investigators called her disappearance suspicious based on evidence found at the home.
After reviewing its cold case files, the Butte County Sheriff's Office submitted DNA from Pyrskalla's mother to the California Department of Justice Bureau of Forensic Services in January to be entered into the Missing Person database.
The Department of Justice did not allow familial DNA samples to be entered prior to 2006, said Butte County Sheriff's Lt. Al Smith.
The Yolo County Coroner had entered a DNA sample from the unidentified body in 2002, according to Smith.
A Butte County Sheriff's Detective showed up Friday on Edie Prieheim's doorstep to break the shocking news about her daughter.
"He said two hours ago we got confirmation that the DNA we took, that's your daughter. We found Vicki," Prieheim, 81, said.
When she disappeared, Pyrskalla left behind two daughters, ages 17 and 20.
"I always knew that we would have some answers one day. I knew we would," said the oldest child, Summer Reeser, now 37.
The family held a graveside service Monday at the Woodland City Cemetery where the Yolo County Coroner buried the remains of the then-unknown woman in 1996.
"It's the closure we needed," Prieheim said.
The family said they would hold a celebration of Vicki's life Saturday at Chico's Bidwell Park.
When the body was located in the Sacramento River above Sacramento in May 1996, drowning was listed as the probable cause of death.
The investigation into circumstances that led to the death of Vicki Pyrskalla is continuing.
"We're not convinced it was an accident," Smith said.
Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact Butte County Sheriff's Detective Pat McNelis at 530-538-7671.
By George Warren, GWarren@news10.net