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Woman found dead inside SUV in the Apple Valley Stater Bros parking lot

UPDATE 10/18 — The coroner’s office identified the woman as Tanya Smith, 45, a resident of Apple Valley and the manner of death is pending.

APPLE VALLEY, Calif. (VVNG.com) — Deputies in Apple Valley conducted a death investigation after a woman inside an SUV was found dead in the Stater Bros. parking lot.

It happened at about 3:50 p.m., on October 17, 2023, in the 21600 block of Bear Valley Road.

A woman loading groceries with a male friend was the first to notice the female hunched over behind the wheel of a gray Mazda SUV that was parked in front of her vehicle.

woman found dead in suv parked in stater brothers parking lot in apple valley

They approached the SUV and immediately knew something was wrong. The friend opened the car’s door and attempted to wake the woman before pulling her out of the SUV, but it was already too late.

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Sheriff’s spokeswoman Mara Rodriguez told VVNG deputies and firefighters responded to the call and pronounced the 46-year-old woman deceased at the scene.

woman found dead in suv parked in stater brothers parking lot in apple valley

Rodriguez said there was nothing suspicious noted in the call and the coroner’s office would conduct the death investigation.

The identity of the deceased woman will be released pending the notification of next of kin.

**Editor’s note — sheriff’s officials initially told VVNG the woman was 46, however, the coroner confirmed her age is 45.


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