Police: Red Bluff girl strangled to death
Fourteen-year-old Marysa Nichols of Red Bluff appears to have been strangled to death, the Red Bluff police announced Tuesday.
"Asphyxiation by ligature strangulation" is the preliminary cause of death, Red Bluff police Chief Paul Nanfito said.
The man arrested for the teen's death, Quentin Ray Bealer, 39, of Red Bluff, is scheduled for arraignment in Tehama County Superior Court at 1 p.m. today before Judge Matthew C. McGlynn.
He was booked into Tehama County Jail on suspicion of murder Saturday after being interviewed by the Red Bluff Police Department that day.
Nanfito said the department is still seeking the public's assistance in finding two items possibly related to the crime: a pair of red shorts, described as "Dickies" style, and an iPod in a pink removable case which was in Nichols' possession at the time of her disappearance around 11 a.m. on Feb. 26.
The iPod is between 1 and 4 years old, holds eight to 16 gigabites and is linked to an iCloud account, said the Police Department.
Police are also seeking access to video surveillance from residences and businesses taken in the areas north of Luther Road, east of Baker Road, south of Walbridge Road and west of Main and South Main streets, from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Feb. 26.
Nichols' body was found by law enforcement at 11 a.m. Thursday in Brickyard Creek, which runs behind Red Bluff High School. She had been reported missing at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 26 by her mother, Diane Whitmire.
A surveillance video of Nichols walking in the direction of the creek, her typical path home from Red Bluff High School's Education Outreach Academy, also showed a white male in that vicin ty around the same time.
The police released the video to the media Friday night and asked for help in identifying the man.
Nanfito said that the department received "dozens and dozens of tips" from the video.
"(Bealer) was positively ID'd as the person on the surveillance tape," the chief sad.
He was arrested at 10:29 p.m. Friday by the Tehama County Sheriff's Department on the 8000 block of Central Avenue in Gerber. He had failed to appear in court on charges of burglary, receiving known stolen property and possession of drug paraphernalia in a case dating back to December.
That same night, a candlelight vigil was held for Nichols in front of the Tehama County Courthouse.
"I came to honor her. She was my friend," a girlfriend said at the vigil.
Nanfito said he estimates it will be several more weeks before the department receives a final autopsy report on Nichols' death.
Bealer has an extensive criminal history in Tehama County.
In 1991, he pled guilty to charges of stolen property, burglary, transportation of drugs, corporal injury to a spouse, and battery.