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Authorities Confirm Missing Washington Woman's Body Was Found In Trunk Of Vehicle At Auto Yard

Patricia Soto, who was last seen in November, was reported missing by her family last month after they grew increasingly concerned that they hadn't heard from her. 

By Jill Sederstrom
Patricia “Tricia” Soto Pd

The body of a missing Washington woman was positively identified by authorities after it was discovered in the trunk of a vehicle at an auto yard last month.

The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed Monday that the body belonged to 41-year-old Patricia “Tricia” Soto, who disappeared in early November.

Although the medical examiner listed the cause and manner of death as “pending,” King County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tim Meyer told Oxygen.com that the case is being investigated as a homicide.

Soto was last seen on Nov. 7 at a residence in Burien, according to an earlier statement from Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

The agency reported the 41-year-old missing last month after her family members had grown concerned for her safety because they believed it was “unusual for her not to be in contact with her family for this amount of time,” authorities said.

Her body was discovered on Dec. 21 at an auto yard in Pierce County.

Pierce County Sheriff’s Sgt. Darren Moss told The Seattle Times that deputies made the discovery after they were notified that a vehicle tied to a missing person’s case had been towed to the yard and located the body in the trunk.

The King County Sheriff’s Office has taken over as the lead investigating agency, according to Meyer, because of Soto’s ties to Burien and the belief that she may have been in the area around the time she disappeared.

He told Oxygen.com that authorities are still trying to determine Soto’s final movements before she disappeared.

“I think that’s really going to come to detectives really trying to piece together exactly what’s happened,” he said. “Obviously this is an investigation that now spans three counties. That’s why we’ve got our work cut out for us on this.”

Detectives are not releasing any information at this time about how the 41-year-old died.

“We’ve got a great major crimes unit,” Meyer said. “This is what they do and I think with time and good work they are going to be able to tell that whole story.”

According to Meyer, the investigation remains “open and active.”

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