Palo Alto police probe 'likely' homicide of woman found in home

Neighbors say owner of Greenmeadow home may have been renting out rooms

Police in Palo Alto are investigating a "likely" homicide after an Asian woman in her 60s was found dead in her Greenmeadow neighborhood home Thursday night.

Police were called to the house in the 300 block of Creekside Drive at about 7:42 p.m. A family member, who had gone to the residence to locate the victim, found her body and called police.

The identity of the woman has not been released.

Detectives obtained a search warrant and conducted a search of the residence in the quiet south Palo Alto neighborhood Friday morning. There are no significant leads at this time, according to police, who will continue to work through the weekend, examining evidence and interviewing people who may have known the woman.

An autopsy of the woman will be performed next week by the Santa Clara County Examiner-Coroner to determine cause of death, police said.

Police have said there is no danger to the public.

As police reopened Creekside Drive to traffic, the brown-and-white shingled home and two cars, a black Mercedes on the street and a sports utility vehicle in the driveway, remained cordoned off with crime-scene tape.

Neighbors in the sprawling neighborhood, which was developed by Joseph Eichler in the late 1950s, told the Weekly on Friday that the woman who owns the home and lived there was a mystery. None of her neighbors knew her, they said. The neighbors asked to remain anonymous.

County property records indicate that the home has been owned since 1995 by a woman with an Asian surname. The owner is an acupuncturist who has listed the Creekside address as her business location, according to online records.

One neighbor said the woman had many men who came to the home who stayed for short periods of time. The neighbor said it appeared that she had renters who seemed to change frequently, with new cars coming and going every month.

"She was renting out individual rooms. She said she was there the whole time, but I only saw her one time every seven months. The last time, she was driving a Beamer SUV," the neighbor said.

The woman's brother did business in China, and he would visit his wife and children, who lived at the home with the woman, about twice a year.

"We saw them more than her," the neighbor said.

The sister-in-law and her children moved out after living there for about a year, apparently because the two women did not get along, the neighbor said.

But the activity was consistent: the number of renters -- all males younger than 35 -- who would come in and move out often, she said.

"In this neighborhood, we never see renters like that," the neighbor said. Other renters stay for years, she added.

In the past two to three days, the activity increased considerably, she said.

"There were a lot of cars coming in and out, and they were all different. There were people talking in the driveway for a long time. They were out there talking for an hour," she said.

When the neighbor and her family moved in about three years ago, she tried to be friendly to the woman, bringing home-grown garden tomatoes and offering to work together to fix a fence that had been uplifted by vegetation in the woman's yard. But the woman preferred to be alone. She said that she did not have money to fix the fence, the neighbor recalled.

The neighbor said the woman never talked about having the acupuncture business listed online and in the online phone directory. Instead, when asked, she merely said that she had some business in China.

"I have no idea what she did," the neighbor said.

The neighbor said she does not feel afraid and believes the death was an isolated incident related to the particular victim. But it did surprise her because the neighborhood is quiet, although there have been are few burglaries, she said.

One woman, who has lived in Greenmeadow for 48 years, also saw many people come and go from the residence where the woman was found dead.

And like her other neighbors, she said she did not know the woman or the other occupants.

"I know most of my other neighbors, but I don't know anything about them at all," she added.

On Thursday night, another neighbor and her brother were walking the dog as police arrived. Officers stopped to talk to someone in a white pickup truck parked on the street, then cordoned off the residence and the street with crime-scene tape and asked the neighbor to move out of the secured zone, she said.

The last homicide in Greenmeadow took place in September 1998. Software engineer Vladimir Pokhilko killed his wife and son in their Ferne Avenue home before killing himself, a 34-year resident recalled.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the police department at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to or sent via text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984.


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8 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 8, 2016 at 6:47 pm

Why do the police think there is no danger to public if they have no leads and no suspects?

14 people like this
Posted by my guess
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 8, 2016 at 7:29 pm

To resident: my guess is there was no sign of forced entry, so the likely suspects are other occupants of the home and clients of the victim. In either case, it wasn't a random crime against a random victim.

20 people like this
Posted by Matt Barros
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 8, 2016 at 10:23 pm

Why does this story identify the race of the decedent (as quoted below)? If this is normal journalistic protocol, then fine; however, it strikes me as completely irrelevant (though, of course, it is a "fact"). Why not just say that a "person" died. Why does their race matter? And, I would be remiss if I did not ask, "If this decedent were Caucasian, would the article have mentioned that? If not, why?

"Police in Palo Alto are investigating a "likely" homicide after an Asian woman in her 60s was found dead in her Greenmeadow neighborhood home Thursday night."

11 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 9, 2016 at 12:09 am

It's very sad to know that someone was murdered in our town.

Matt Barros, I think your question is an interesting one. Why do
you think it is that news stories seem to mention race? Often you
can tell from the last name, which we do not know yet of course.

I've questioned that as well. Why do we do it. Do people subconsciously
keep track in some way, and would that be wrong or racist? I don't
know but the question sticks with me.

We would not have the black lives matter movement or the consciousness
of having so many in a certain minority getting what looks like separate
treatment, I always think no one starts the day with the expectation that
someone is going to do them bodily harm, and this is very sad.

I hope the PAPD are able to make some significant headway on this case

30 people like this
Posted by PC has gone too far
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2016 at 1:58 am

Matt & Plane: It's just a fact, no big deal. The majority is Caucasian so it's not usually mentioned. It's naive to think racism will ever end (although this isn't racist reporting). I suppose you think ethnic descriptions of criminals on the loose is racist too? There are more important things to ponder.

7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2016 at 8:46 am

Yesterday we knew the deceased was a person. Today we know the approximate age, gender and race. Perhaps it would emote PC to know none of these details and continue knowing she was just a person. How terrible. She was a human being who was loved by at least one family member who checked up on her and it appears was murdered. What a terrible end to her life and she deserves dignity regardless of what information we have.

Like this comment
Posted by Spiderlegs
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 9, 2016 at 11:04 am

[Post removed.]

4 people like this
Posted by Google
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 9, 2016 at 12:50 pm

[Post removed.]

Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 9, 2016 at 10:00 pm

[Post removed.]

14 people like this
Posted by Just My Opinion But
a resident of another community
on Jul 10, 2016 at 11:51 am

No disrespect meant, but it seems to me that if you are going to charge people for access to these articles that you should make an effort to prevent and delete these duplicated articles.

This is such a bug in your system that has gone on for years where PAO does not classify an article so that whoever responds to it in a give time frame created a copy of the original article and then views and comments. I've seem articles where there were several duplicates, each with their own thread of comments.

Another one is the first click going to a "stub" article, after which you need to click over to the real full article? Why not just link the headline to the article? As a programmer these seem like things that should not be very hard to fix?

How about it?

62 people like this
Posted by Suspicion
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 10, 2016 at 1:49 pm

Suspicion is a registered user.

From the reports of neighbors, it sounds like this woman, the victim, was either doing some short-term rentals such as Airbnb, or running something illegal out of her home in order to bring in extra money.

I find it suspicious that she had a Mercedes and a BMW SUV, but claimed she couldn't afford to help with the cost of repairing a fence.

Constant and ever-changing traffic of young men in and out of her home, several at a time, raises some red flags.

9 people like this
Posted by Concerned Coach
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 11, 2016 at 11:08 am

Concerned Coach is a registered user.

@ Just My Opinion

I have never paid to read ?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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