Calif. Teen Alyssa Byrne Missing Since New Year's Eve Found Dead

Police said the 19-year-old's body was discovered in a snow bank.

January 4, 2013, 8:11 AM

Jan. 4, 2013 -- Authorities have found the body of Alyssa Byrne, the 19-year-old California woman who had been missing since New Year's Eve.

Byrne, of Petaluma, Calif., was last seen by friends around 11:30 p.m. at Snow Globe, a three-day music festival in South Lake Tahoe, Nev., that attracts thousands of people, police said.

A utility worker discovered her body, uncovered, lying in a snow bank this morning on the side of the road between the Snow Globe Festival and a hotel, the Douglas County Sheriff's Department said in a news conference today.

There were no signs of outward trauma and no foul play is suspected. A full autopsy report is being conducted to determine the cause of death.

Investigators said Byrne appears to have attempted to walk back to her hotel because of long lines waiting to get on shuttle buses.

"There were some transportation issues at the event, quite long lines, and a lot of people who attended the event elected to walk back instead of taking the shuttle buses. Our preliminary investigation with this morning's discovery, it would tend to point that direction that Alyssa had elected to walk home from the event," Douglas County Undersheriff Paul Howell said at a news conference today.

Police are also investigating Byrne's cellphone activity, which shows calls were placed around midnight Monday after she was last seen. Investigators are unsure, however, whether the phone was used by Byrne or someone else.

Another part of the police investigation is a series of tweets from Byrne's account that night, which make reference to a "falling out" with a friend.

"After tonight you'll never be apart of my life you won't be a memory of 2013 a new year you'll never be apart your nothing to me," @alyssa_byrne1 tweeted on Dec. 31.

"Just lost all my trust in the person I trusted most," the following tweet read.

"We've identified the person that she was referring to. It was a friend, they had a falling out and in speaking to the family and other friends that was not an event that we would at this point label as something that pushed her 'over the edge,'" Howell said today. "We don't think that was a significant issue at this time."

Byrne had reportedly told friends she was returning to the group's hotel room at the Horizon Casino Resort in Stateline and was then unreachable.

"She basically just left and I called her back and she was on the bus back to the hotel," said Jay Donnellan, according to ABC affiliate KGO-TV in San Francisco.

When Donnellan returned to the hotel around 12:30 a.m., Byrne was not in her room.

"Once we got back to the room, we noticed she wasn't there. We were calling her, back-to-back, sending her text messages," Donnellan told KGO.

Byrne's family in Petaluma said before today's discovery that she had no history of running away.

Hundreds of people searched the area around Tahoe casinos for Byrne until dark Thursday night.

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