Woman found dead in her home under suspicious circumstances

Woman found dead in her home under suspicious circumstances

OROVILLE, Calif. - Butte County investigators are looking for clues in the death of an elderly woman found in her Oroville home Sunday morning.

Police believe foul play was involved.

Neighbors of Charlene Howarth, 62, can't understand why anyone would kill her and they don't believe she would take her own life.

"If she could help you, she would," said neighbor, Penny Wood.

Howarth was found dead in her home on the 2300 block of Via Laton just before 11:30 a.m.

"And we've been here for years there's never been a problem," Wood said.

Wood was shocked to hear about her death. She said she came home very late Saturday night from a family reunion and saw a very suspicious woman going into Howarth's home.

"I thought I saw Charlene going into her house very late at night but more that I think about it it wasn't her," she said. "It was too out of character. I don't believe that she would do anything to herself."

Neither do investigators.

"I don't believe it's a suicide at this point," said Lieutenant Al Smith with Butte County Sheriff's Office. "I can't talk about why we believe that but that's our feeling at this time."

Detectives found wounds on Howarth but they wouldn't comment on what caused them.

"But I can say it's not a natural death," Smith said.

Wood explains despite Howarth being a joyous person to live next to, the neighborhood is not safe.

"I felt bad, but I know there's so much crime that's inevitable that some of our neighbors and maybe myself, things are going to happen," she said.

An autopsy will be done this week. There are no leads on a suspect. The Butte County Sheriff's Office said if you have any information about this case, contact Detective Matt Calkins at 530-538-7671.

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