Police ID homeless woman found dead in Auburn

Shelly Jump, 45, appeared to die of natural causes
By: Jon Schultz, Journal Staff Writer
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Police identified 45-year-old Shelly Jump as the homeless woman whose body was found Friday at an encampment off the trail running behind Westamerica Bank in Auburn, between Grass Valley Highway and Auburn Ravine Road.

An autopsy revealed that foul play does not appear to have been a factor, according to a press release from Sgt. Dale Hutchins, Auburn Police Department detective.

Jump is survived by her two sons, Robert, 18, and Andrew, 16, as well as her brother Sean, said her mother, Paula Knopp.

Her older son is in basic training for the National Guard in South Carolina, and her youngest is to graduate from Georgetown Texas High School in May. They were the highlight of her life, said Knopp, who has been their legal guardian.

Jump graduated from Roseville High School in 1985 and was a talented artist who loved to cook, her mother said.

“She’s the only person I’ve ever known that she just lived in the here-and-now,” Knopp said. “She didn’t think about the past or tomorrow, it was just what was going on right now. I lovingly called her a second-generation hippy.”

Eric Knopp said Jump was his cousin and described her as “a sweet person.” She started to display signs of mental issues about 20 years ago before largely falling out of contact with the family, he said.

“She went from a happy person to just someone who had kind of lost direction,” Eric Knopp said. “She was a good person. I just don’t think there was anything her family could do, because she wasn’t able to take care of herself and didn’t want help.”

On Friday, several officers began surveying the site where a pile of blankets lay near a hilltop rock outcropping west of the wooded path around 1 p.m. The area is known for homeless camps.

A homeless man discovered the body in a tent and called 911.

Lab tests have been sent for analysis at the Department of Justice Crime Lab in Sacramento, and a final determination of the cause of death will likely come in several months, police said.

Police request people with information on the incident to call the Auburn Police Department at (530) 823-4237.


Jon Schultz can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Jon_AJNews