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Discovery of skull may solve case

New Year's Eve find could be clue to fate of Happy Camp woman

Northern California authorities believe a human skull found New Year's Eve along a remote part of the Klamath River could be that of a Happy Camp woman missing since January 2004 when she apparently crashed into the river during a snowstorm.

Siskiyou County sheriff's detectives and family members hope dental records or DNA comparisons will prove whether the skull is actually the remains of Teri Renee Poe, 49, according to the sheriff's department.

I have a feeling it's her, said Arthur Poe, her husband. I always figured that she was in the river somewhere.

Teri Poe was last seen Jan. 27, 2004, when she left home to drive to Bonanza to visit family, deputies said.

It was snowing heavily that morning and it was the first time she had driven along Highway 96 between Happy Camp and Yreka, Arthur Poe said.

— The couple had married a month earlier and had recently moved to a ranch about three miles outside of Happy Camp, he said.

More than a week after Teri Poe was last seen, tracks discovered near Granite Point southeast of Seiad Valley indicated that a car may have spun out there.

Search and Rescue divers found Poe's 1988 Toyota Camry in about 9 feet of murky Klamath River water on Feb. 7, and no one was inside the submerged vehicle, deputies said.

Periodic air and ground searches as well as dive team searches of the Klamath downstream from the accident site failed to find any sign of Poe, deputies said.

Arthur Poe had made several searches himself since the accident, but said Monday he always believed his wife had died in the crash.

On Friday afternoon, a Seiad Valley man reported finding a skull along the river about five miles downstream of Granite Point, department spokeswoman Susan Gravenkamp said.

Detectives told Arthur Poe of the discovery Monday.

I really didn't know what to say, said Poe, who added that a positive identification would help provide him closure.

Poe said detectives expect test results to take two to 10 weeks.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470, or e-mail