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Few Leads in Probe of Slain Turtle Rock Woman : Homicide: Police say they have little physical evidence to work with and distributed flyers in the community.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

It has been more than a week since Patricia Lea Pratt was found slain in the bedroom of her Turtle Rock home, but police said that so far they have few leads in the case.

Officers have distributed more than 400 flyers throughout the community this week in the hopes that somebody will come forward with information that might lead them to the 46-year-old woman’s killer, said Irvine Police Detective Larry Montgomery.

“When you don’t have a lot of leads, it makes it very difficult,” Montgomery said. “We have had tons of calls, but nothing solid has come up from them.”

Police Chief Charles S. Brobeck said four detectives are working the case.

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Pratt died sometime between 5:30 and 11:45 p.m. on Jan. 20. She was last seen alive by her husband, Paul Pratt, who left for a business meeting in the evening, then returned later and discovered his wife’s body, police said.

Although there were no signs of forced entry into the home, police said they believe the victim may have interrupted a burglary. Several valuable items were missing from the house, which is on Windflower near a small park. Montgomery said investigators have very little physical evidence with which to work.

Police have said Pratt suffered injuries to her upper torso but have refused to say exactly how she died.

Pratt’s death has come as a shock to the quiet neighborhood, especially since Irvine rarely experiences homicides. Pratt’s death was the fourth homicide in the city since 1990, police said.

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Montgomery said the case will remain a “high priority” until a suspect is arrested.

“We’re hoping that a neighbor might have seen something during that time and maybe didn’t make a connection,” he said. “The suspect might have knocked on their door first to see if someone was home with the idea of committing a burglary. And if they answered the door, the burglar would come up with some excuse.”

Police also hope to get information from residents who might have been walking or jogging in the park next to the Pratt home at around the time of the murder.

Anyone with possible information about the crime is asked to contact Montgomery at (714) 724-7173.


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