Local News

Wednesday, Oct 30 2013 06:00 PM

Search warrant names person of interest in Bakersfield woman's death

BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

Clara Basta and Victoria La Rue Terrel considered each other sisters, and lived together in a southwest Bakersfield home in the 4200 block of Kilkenny Street.

Basta, 56, was found dead Sept. 7 in a garage at her residence after firefighters responded to a report of smoke coming from the residence. Several small fires had been set in the single-family home.

Now, a man identified in a newly filed search warrant as the "victim's girlfriend's son" is a "person of interest" in Basta's death.

The warrant identifies the son as Patrick Terrel. It states that Terrel told his girlfriend, Sonya Martinez, on the morning of Sept. 7 that he'd killed Basta. The warrant also states that Terrel told her he took Basta's 2002 white Dodge Intrepid and parked it outside an abandoned house.

Investigators found the vehicle about a quarter of a mile from Terrel's residence outside a boarded up house.

Police seized clothing and a wallet from Terrel's residence. A man named Patrick Terrel was arrested Sept. 9 on suspicion of felony drug possession in an unrelated case and is being held without bail.

The search warrant does not say Victoria Terrel is Patrick Terrel's mother; it only identifies him as the "victim's girlfriend's son."

Deputy District Attorney David Zulfa said no arrests have been made and no one has been charged in Basta's death. He said prosecutors sent the case back to police and it remains under investigation.

Basta had suffered injuries to her face, and there was a cord wrapped around her neck. The warrant says Basta's hands were tied behind her back, and her ankles were bound to her hands.

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