After nearly 12 years of searching for her killer, Butte County deputies have charged a suspect in the murder of 41-year-old Shirley Pratt. They say this case was an old case, but it was no cold case.
Shirley was found with a gunshot wound in her head in the Oroville Wildlife Area near Vance Ave.
Her brother, who lives in the Northstate, said she was a "great lady."
"I had the detectives come to the house and they had me identify her," said Shirley's brother, Paul Pratt. "And I will never forget that moment. My heart just sunk down into my chest. And it's just terrible. No one ever wants to go through that."
Butte County detectives worked on the case for 12 years and thanks to new DNA technology finding evidence, they were able to link a suspect to the case – Marvin Ray Markle, Jr.
Markle is currently serving a jail sentence for a probation violation and now, he is charged with murder.
"People in the past that may not have cooperated that had information that have since changed their minds and came forward to share information they had from back then," said Detective Jason Hail. He said that Markle and Pratt were also acquaintances.
Although the detective would not say what he believes the motive of the crime was, he said they do have a motive in mind.
Meanwhile, the Pratt family says they are feeling relieved.
"I never felt so much relief," said Paul Pratt. "And that pressure taken off my chest... I didn't realize how much it was actually bothering me until I got that call saying they have a strong case."
We are currently investigating a report that the Pratt family believes that Markle could be connected to another murder in Vacaville.
We reached out to Vacaville Police Department and have not received a call back.