New clues released in Castro Valley murder arson case

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CASTRO VALLEY (KTVU) -- Investigators have released new clues in the death of a Castro Valley woman whose body was found last month in her burned out home.

Authorities say Andrea St. John, 59, lived in the home in the 1800 block of Grove Way in Castro Valley near the Alameda city line. The fire was reported on Dec. 13, 2017 around 3 a.m. and when firefighters arrived, they could not find the woman inside the residence.

Her body was later found in the garage and investigators have said her body suffered extensive burns during the incident.

Authorities have said the fire was set to destroy clues in the slaying of the woman, who was a widow and lived alone. Investigators have released surveillance video of a man walking near a car near the woman's home.

"Andrea was, by all accounts, a model citizen," said Alameda sheriff's Detective Pat Smyth. "She was a mother, grandmother, daughter and sister."


Investigators said a motive in the killing is unclear but they have declined to say how St. John was killed. The woman's cell phone and car were found at her home and investigators say no one has used her credit cards. 

The suspect seen in surveillance video released to KVTU has been linked to a 2011-2013 Toyota Corolla. But investigators have few clues as they look for a suspect.

The killing has stunned residents in the town. 

"Castro Valley is a little tiny community and everyone watches for everyone else," resident Carole Parma said. "We don't expect this kind of element."

Investigators say anyone with information should call the Alameda County sheriff.