Cold Case Heats Up, Burned Remains Matched With Missing Woman

On September 9, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office announced that the Woman in the Refrigerator had been identified.

A female’s bones were found on May 16, 2012 2013 in an abandoned refrigerator near the railroad tracks at the west end of Highway 162 (Covelo Road) not far from Hwy 101. Inside the refrigerator were burnt human remains. (Read more here.) Little was known about her except that she was believed to be of small stature and the remains of a charm bracelet or necklace were found with the body. Below is a sketch of what the item is believed to have looked like.


In May of this year, family members of Rachel Audrey Sloan (age 25, from Laytonville) reported her as missing. DNA samples were taken and sent away to be compared with the remains in the refrigerator. On the first of September, the Mendocino Sheriff’s Office received a report identifying the remains as belonging to Rachel Sloan.

According to the Mendocino Sheriff’s Office, “Sloan was last seen by her family in Laytonville, California in August 2012. ”

They are asking anyone with information to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office tip line (707) 234-2100.

Below is the press release sent out today by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office:

On 05-16-2013 at 12:23 PM, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office was notified of some possible human remains that were located burned in a secluded area on Highway 162 north of Willits, California.

The remains were located and later examined by a forensic anthropologist and were determined to be that of a human.  DNA samples were recovered and a profile was uploaded into the California Department of Justice and National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.

Approximately two years later, in May 2015, family members of Rachel Audrey Sloan (25 year-old female from Laytonville, California) reported her as a missing person.  Familial DNA samples were obtained from Sloan’s family members and compared to the DNA profile from the found remains.

On 09-01-2015, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s received a DNA report from the California Department of Justice identifying the found remains as that of Rachel Audrey Sloan.

Sloan was last seen by her family in Laytonville, California in August 2012.

Anybody with information on Sloan’s death is encouraged to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office tip line by calling 707-234-2100.



  • When they say that the wheels of justice turn slowly, I beleive they had this case in mind.

    3.5 years to get DNA results.
    2 years to even report her missing.

    • The way I read it is that DNA was taken from the remains in the refrigerator in 2013. It wasn’t until the family reported her missing in May of this year & they gave familial samples which were compared. That’s 4 months for DNA results which us about the norm with the huge backlog that our state deals with.

      • Yes – it’s the chain of evidence factor that adds paperwork and slows processing (it has to be admissible as real evidence, right?)

  • Why was she not reported as missing until 2 years after the body was found?

  • That is sad. At least we know who she was now. RIP Rachel Sloan.

  • Check the dates in this post. Find that incorrect one.

  • Sad this is how her life ended and relived she has been identified.
    No clue as who put this young woman in the refrigerator?
    My guess is her family does not live in the area as the remains were big news at the time.

    • The family lives right in Laytonville . obviously they just didn’t care or already knew. Doesn’t matter the lifestyle,problems,Or whatever somebody is going through.As close as she was to home,They would have checked.They should have checked. Because any family member would report a loved one after a few days to a couple weeks.No excuse.The law should be investigating closer to her home

  • Please dont judge this family. The mother was murdered and now a daughter of this community. Seems after her mother passed the family broke apart and now it is broken again. This is heartbreaking and nobody can know the circumstances yet. I hope they find out what happened to her. Justice for this girl.

    • Laytonville Cahto res

      Don’t judge the family? Rachels the victim here! And they didn’t seem too worried about her then,nor now.Are they pushing to find the murderer? No.They will probably just forget about her again.We will see. I think the person responsible for her death is someone close to her.So I’m sorry I can’t pity her family. All her friends were more concerned than them. Do you know her family?

      • It was certainly a cold blooded message to SOMEONE: Leave remains in reefer next to main highway? Sounds like gangland stuff – like the Knights Templar or some other cartel…..scary

    • I pray for this family really so sad!you my daughter went homeless for about two years never new where she was or anything I called missing person on her two times then she would call she put the whole family alot .just never know!thank god she got over it she is safe now.

    • Is there any connection, besides a dreadful coincidence, between the death of the mother and the death of the daughter? Was the mother’s killer caught? And I think you’re right, after the mother died the family splintered. To have not reported the woman missing for two years, it’s heart breaking.

  • So so breaks my heart to think a human being,is treated in this way.if her family treated her that way,shame on them!!to her friends I’m so sorry.god bless

  • How sad. Keep your family close even if you dont always see eye to eye.

  • It’s real easy to judge what you do not know but you all don’t know ANYTHING your saying!!! my grandpa Gene (bill) Sloans brother Burt Sloan is her grandpa which his son Allen Sloan is her father, so she is my 3rd cousin and she was always on the go, she was lost but her mother was not around like that she would see her from time to time and stuff but not like she had a father and mother household, her mother was murdered by a man that worked at Harwood products and this was years ago so no connection the guy is in prison, but rachel hung around with whoever she wanted to even if it was a bad crowd got into drugs and then started living the life of a person on drugs, her dad is a drinker but he loved her and now speed up to 2012 or 2013 she went all over the place with whom ever she wanted to as an adult she had many family members as well as friends concerned but then she would pop out and be around again just like the woman said her daughter was homeless and looked for her but if someone doesn’t want to be found they will do what they want and keep away. She was seen around mendocino county so the family thought ok she’s an adult and doing her own life. I am deeply sadden by this I lost my mother Deana Campbell in 2009 and the 3 months later my only brother Aaron campbell then in dec. My 1st cousin Gene Gonzalez so we know what it is too hurt we are family but very different in how we were raised. Rachel was a sweet person that didn’t deserve any of this drugs,stealing put aside none of it mattered you don’t do that to another human being. She will be greatly missed. May God bless all of you and your perfect lives!!

    • Wish you didn’t have to read such negative comments, your a strong woman!!!! Prayers to all family

    • Thank you Angela for this information on Rachel, this news sadden my heart so, I had no idea that she had not been seen (missing). I see Bert but its always just a Hi and Bye. I was Rachel’s Head Start teacher and although that was along time ago I know for a fact that she was very loved by her father, and grandfather and most of all her Grandmother, who is past on. People are so quick to jump to conclusions, with no correct information trying to put a story together that is most likely far from the truth. I do know this, as parents we can only make our children listen to us for so long and when your child becomes and adult and can make their own life choices some times all that’s left is Hope , The hope that all the life lessons that we have given them along the way will stay with them always and that they will be safe happy and well. I think that I seen Rachel a few years ago, she was walking in the Covelo Road. I am gonna call the hot line to let the police that story. As for Rachel and all her head start class mates I will always have a place in my heart for them. R.I.P Rachel, I will be sending prayers for comfort & strength to My Slone family there in Laytonville. I was not only Rachel’s Head Start teacher I am her relative (cousin) by her Grandmother.

      • I remember you teacher tasha you also was my brothers head start teacher also Aaron Campbell and you always talked to my mom when we seen you, it’s been awhile and I hope all is well with you and your family. People are always going to point fingers or he said she said junk but what it comes down to is this beautiful sweet soft spoken person did not deserve any of this no human does so when I see people writing about what they read and are quick to judge makes me sad for them not anyone else and you are so correct you can be the perfect parent but your child will do what they want or vice versa. There is a family hurting and sure don’t need to be judged by anyone, but what I do know is oneday EVERYBODY will be put in a situation where loved ones will pass on and it’s the hardest thing anybody will ever go thru I know it all too well and it hurts you to the core. Only God can judge and we will all be together again oneday. Thank you Natasha Azbill for your kind powerful words!!♡♡♡ how I feel is people want to talk but won’t put there names down wonder why that is?!?!? But that’s what they have to live with my parents taught me better then that.#R♡I♡P*R.A.S

  • Rip beautiful rachael sloan!!! All people who don’t know anything needs to keep your roaming minds and negative comments to yourself!! You wouldn’t know truth of anything , so you speak on something u heard and try to fill in missing pieces!!! Don’t say anything at all or just send condolences! !

  • I have a question- was Rachel one of the 5 girls listed as missing? I ask because I think the number is much higher. It is true, when people live a transient lifestyle, our assumption is that they just took off with someone and are elsewhere. I think that is why missing people are often unreported. Then you factor in confidentiality laws (HIPPA) it makes it even harder to get information.

    When I worked at MH there was a lady who would call me from Florida and ask about her daughter. The daughter was homeless, had schizophrenia and a history of drug use. Twice I saw the daughter and offered her a phone to call mom. She clearly told me she didn’t want to talk with her mom and didn’t want me telling her mom anything. I had no clue what the history was with this family. I didn’t know if there was justification for the daughter not wanting family to know her whereabouts. All I could say to the mother was, “If you know for sure she is here, then file a BOLO for her and contact the coroner’s office to leave contact info.

    It is easy to sit in judgement when you don’t know all the facts. The thing that I’m concerned about is the lack of respect for human life. Why are all these females dying or missing? I am sorry for those who are missing a friend or loved one and in this case I am sorry for Rachel and those who loved her. RIP Rachel.

  • Rachel was not one of the five missing listed here That focused on Humboldt women. Rachel is from Mendocino.

    I agree with you that there may be many more that are missing. We just don’t know.

  • My heart is broken. I knew her. She was my friends girlfriend when I met her. She was beautiful and had harsh realities. We liked each other. Couple years later I run into her standing in front of Safeway. Homeless. I took her home and fed her and cleaned her up. She stayed a few days then moved on her way. Then I would get surprise visits from her. Every few months or once a year maybe. Can’t remember but we were intimate and she was the sweetest thing. One of the times she showed I took her to my grandparents for thanksgiving or Easter lunch. Was a big family feast anyways. I can’t remember how many times she showed up or which time was the last time she showed. Not sure if it was the time we had lunch even. But I feel that judging from the dates above, I saw her not long before she died 😖. My heart is broken because I felt so much for her, having gone through the shit that her and many other girls like her go through around here. I’m angry now. Filthy pedophiles

  • I’m am trying to find out if Rachel Sloane was the Rachel I knew when we were kids I can’t remember her last name but she looks like Rachel that I knew does any one know what her mother’s name was?

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