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Unsolved Mystery: A California Woman Arranged a Meeting at a Market. She Was Next Seen Dead in an Orchard.

california cold case
Source: Unsplash; Sutter County Sheriff’s Office

Feb. 26 2024, Published 12:02 p.m. ET

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A 20-year-old woman was going to meet at least one other person near a QuickStop market in California. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary as several people came and went from the store in the brief time she was there and then left.

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That was until the woman was found dead in a nearby orchard.

Now, more than two decades later, police haven’t solved the cold-case homicide.

Around 7 p.m. on May 18, 2002, Carol Guillen, 20, was called to the payphone near the market in Yuba City, California, according to the Sutter County Sheriff’s Office. She was driving a black 1999 Honda Civic with a California license plate of 4FSG574.

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Investigators believe Guillen met at least one person near the east side of the store. They left in Guillen’s car and headed south.

A short time later, Guillen’s body was found in a nearby orchard. Her vehicle had been returned to the market and abandoned, according to the sheriff’s office. Guillen suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the face.

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The victim's father, Carlos Guillen, told the Appeal Democrat in 2005 that he wasn’t satisfied with the investigation, but he isn’t sure what more detective should have done.

A motive wasn’t released, but robbery wasn’t considered as a possibility even though the 20-year-old’s purse was never found, according to the report.

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Murder

"I don't know if (the motive) was robbery," Carlos Guillen told the Appeal Democrat. "I have no idea what it was."

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Carlos Guillen said the killing happened weeks after Carol Guillen moved out of the family’s home to live with roommates. The victim had new friends that didn’t always meet her dad’s approval, but he didn’t consider any a suspect.

Carlos Guillen has said he was concerned the killer was still out there and a danger to others, according to the Appeal Democrat.

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Carol Guillen, a Hispanic woman, was found dead wearing a red short sleeve T-shirt, leggings and white tennis shorts. She was known to listen to loud music and might have been doing so when she arrived at the market.

Anyone who was at the market on May 18, 2002, or has information about the case is asked to contact authorities at (530) 822-7313 ext. 240. A reward of $5,000 is being offered in the case.

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