Yreka man arrested in 2005 cold-case killing of woman found in river

Booking photo provided by the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office shows suspect Philip William Frase.
Booking photo of Philip William Frase.
(Siskiyou County Sheriff)

A 75-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the cold-case killing of a woman whose body was found in a rural Northern California river nearly 18 years ago, authorities said.

Patricia Joseph was reported missing July 15, 2005. Her body was discovered three days later in the Klamath River about 25 miles north of her home in Fort Jones.

An autopsy showed that the 56-year-old had died from blunt force trauma and asphyxia.

Detectives reopened the case in 2021, using new technology to analyze evidence, leading to the Feb. 6 arrest in Yreka of Philip William Frase on suspicion of murder, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Monday.


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On a Facebook page dedicated to Joseph’s memory, her family said that “the time for justice is long overdue.”

“We miss you like crazy mom,” the family said in a post Tuesday.

The evidence in the case wasn’t specified, but the analysis “produced compelling results connecting Frase to the killing of Patricia,” the sheriff’s statement said.

Officials didn’t give a possible motive for the killing or say whether Frase and Joseph knew each other. Frase was held in lieu of $2-million bail.