Investigators detail Don Pedro death

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By AMY LINDBLOM

Search warrants recently filed in Tuolumne County Superior Court show that Don Pedro resident Mary Pricilla Bisbing died of multiple stab wounds.

Though the victim's live-in boyfriend is not officially a suspect, Michael Allen Cook is the focus of an investigation by the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Department.

The 54-year-old woman's decomposed body was found in her Arbolada Drive home on Aug. 25 by a deputy asked to check on her. Bisbing's sister in Reno had called the Sheriff's Department to report she hadn't heard from Bisbing since Aug. 15.

Bisbing's body, covered in blankets and clothing, was found in the bedroom.

But a search warrant says blood trails indicate the woman was dragged there from the living room, near the front door.

When the killing occurred has not yet been determined, said Tuolumne County Deputy District Attorney Jim Newkirk.

Cook who, along with Bisbing's car, was missing from the house when the body was discovered was arrested Sept. 3 in Metropolis, Ill., and extradited to Tuolumne County.

Police in Metropolis, on the Kentucky border, had been alerted by Sheriff's Investigator Neal Lillie that Cook might be hitching a ride there to see an acquaintance.

He was found at a truck stop along Interstate 24, trying to use a pay phone.

Cook, 45, had been arrested twice before on suspicion of abusing Bisbing. He was convicted and sentenced in one of those incidents.

After transport here from Illinois, he was booked on a charge of violating probation on the most recent of the two charges.

Cook is now held without bail at the Tuolumne County Jail.

Investigators followed Cook's trail from Don Pedro, through the Fresno area and finally to the Midwest.

Bisbing's car was found Sept. 8 in a parking lot at a Clovis Save Mart store.

Investigators obtained a search warrant for the car and for Cook's medical records from the University of Fresno Medical Center, where he had been treated Aug. 19 four days after Bisbing was last heard from.

Tuolumne Sheriff Sgt. Chris Harrison said Cook was hospitalized for four days in Fresno after an accident.

"He was the pedestrian in a pedestrian-versus-vehicle accident in the Fresno area," Harrison said.

After discharge from the hospital, Cook reportedly hitchhiked to Metropolis.

Investigators have also received a judge's permission to get samples of Cook's blood for comparison with blood found at Bisbing's house.

On March 12, Cook was arrested on suspicion of ripping a telephone receiver from a phone at the house, making threats to kill Bisbing and repeatedly smashing her head against the floor.

When deputies were called to the home after Bisbing made repeated 911 calls from a fax machine, Cook was incoherent, having overdosed on prescription medication.

He was taken to a Modesto hospital where he was in a coma for four days, court records indicate.

After his release, he was booked into the county jail.

Cook later pleaded guilty to damaging the phone line, but the other two charges were dropped when Bisbing refused to testify against him. After serving a 90-day sentence, Cook was released from the county jail Aug. 6.

So far, no charges have been filed against Cook in connection with Bisbing's killing, and Newkirk said he won't call Cook a suspect as long as the investigation remains unfinished.

The prosecutor said test results from blood and other items taken by Department of Justice criminalists could be back by mid-October.

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The Union Democrat
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