Sheriff's officials first considered the death suspicious and still do. The cause of her death is now listed as undetermined pending a toxicology report.
An autopsy conducted on Jan. 3 did not show any traumatic injuries that would suggest someone killed her.
Sheriff's officials said Banta had a history of challenges surrounding mental health, substance abuse and homelessness.
According to sheriff's officials, she had not been in touch with her family since November and deputies do not know where she was or who she was with shortly before she died.
Sheriff's officials are asking for help with that information. They believe Banta spent most of her time in the Hayward area, but may have spent significant time in other cities in and near western and central Alameda County.
They are hoping with help they can determine when Banta was last seen alive and where exactly she died. Her family is hoping for that information too.
Anyone who can help is asked to call the sheriff's office at 510-667-7721. Someone is there 24 hours a day and callers can remain anonymous.
In other news
* A 21-year-old Livermore man died Sunday afternoon when his motorcycle lost control on Interstate 580 a mile west of the Grant Line Road interchange in far eastern Alameda County, the California Highway Patrol said.
The crash was reported at 1:05 p.m. Sunday. The motorcyclist, whose name has not yet been released, appeared to have been "lane splitting," passing between vehicles, when he was hit, said CHP Officer Tyler Hahn.
The man was pronounced dead at the scene.
There wasn't any evidence that rainy conditions contributed to the crash, Hahn said. Initial witness reports indicate the motorcyclist may have been hit by another vehicle, possibly a white SUV, but that had not been confirmed as of late Sunday afternoon, Hahn said.
The investigation remains ongoing.
* The Alameda County Sheriff's Office recently shined a spotlight on the 40th anniversary of the murder of Frances Rash at her home in Dublin, putting out a renewed call for information that could help investigator solve the cold-case homicide.
Rash returned to her Tory Way home unexpectedly around 9:25 a.m. on Jan. 2, 1979 to find an armed assailant inside and her two children tied up on the floor, according to investigators.
The 40-year-old woman was then taken to a bedroom and killed. Her children managed to free themselves, run to a neighbor's home and call 9-1-1, but the killer would escape, according to investigators.
Before the burglary, one of the children reported their home received two phone calls from a man claiming to be associated with Gemco, saying they were the winners of a recent prize drawing.
The suspect at the time was described as an Asian man between 26-30 years old, weighing 150-160 pounds and wearing shoulder-length hair, slightly tinted metal-framed glasses, an orange down jacket with zipper and dark pants, and carrying a brown attache case. Sheriff's officials re-released the original suspect sketch as part of a Twitter post on Jan. 2 to mark the anniversary of Rash's death.
Sheriff's officials often acknowledge cold-case homicide anniversaries on social media, along with the message, "Our victims are never forgotten." Anyone with pertinent information about either case can contact the sheriff's Cold Case Homicide Unit at 510-667-3661 or the anonymous tip line at 510-667-3622. Reference case No. 79-0054.
* Livermore police are looking for help in identifying two men accused of stealing more than $20,000 worth of handbags from a store at the San Francisco Premium Outlets last week.
According to police, the two men robbed the store (which was not identified) and fled the area in a dark-colored SUV around 6 p.m. Jan. 2.
The first suspect was described as a white man in his mid-20s with a thin build and short brown hair, wearing a camouflage t-shirt, blue jeans, black shoes and black eyeglasses. The second suspect was described as a black man in his mid-20s with a thin build and clean shaven, wearing a gray vest with dark-colored sleeves underneath, light blue jeans, black shoes and an Oakland Raiders beanie.
Livermore police released grainy photos pulled from surveillance video depicting each suspect and the SUV on their official social media accounts hoping to get the public's help in identifying the men. Anyone with information related to the case can contact police at 371-4777.
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