Missing Grass Valley woman’s body found

By: Journal Staff
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The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office has tentatively identified a body found Monday as that of  a 74-year-old Grass Valley woman who had been missing since July 7.

Wilma Leona Barnhart’s disappearance sparked a missing-person alert because there was no indication she had planned to travel and she had no known health issues.

Barnhart’s GMC Envoy SUV was found late Monday by a motorcycle rider in a secluded area about 8 miles east of Nevada City, Sheriff Keith Royal said Wednesday. A woman’s body was found  inside the SUV and the initial examination indicated it was the missing woman, he said.

The SUV was high-centered and unable to move, Royal said. There was no evidence of foul play or suicide, he said.

While the investigation into Barnhart’s death has not determined why she was in the remote location off Burlington Ridge Road, the Sheriff’s Office had learned that Barnhart and her late husband had camped in the area in the past, Royal said.