California woman’s tip locks up ’96 Tanning Bed Murder suspect

California woman's tip locks up '96 Tanning Bed Murder suspect (Image 1)

A California mother’s intention may have saved lives while cold case detectives in Tennessee worked to solve the 1996 Tanning Bed Murders.

The accused killer, Patrick Streater, is serving a 12 year prison sentence for home invasions in California. A mother’s tip put him behind bars 11 years ago.

Sue Lara, a Sacramento resident, was hailed a hero in 2002 for her tip that landed him in jail.

What Lara didn’t know is that her tip also helped close a 17-year-old cold case.

It was instinct that prompted Lara to call police on Streater.

“Just the way he drove around the neighborhood, I felt like he wanted to rob a house,’ she explained.

Lara tailed Patrick Streater in her car and called police. It led to his arrest, a guilty plea, and a 12-year prison sentence.

11 years later, Nashville’s News 2 retraced Streater’s steps from the school where he coached football, to his old apartment, and to the neighborhoods he preyed upon.

Nashville’s News 2 asked Lara what prompted her to follow him.

“My kids where like how did you know mom. I told them it’s just like you get a gut feeling,” she explained.

Last week, Metro Nashville cold case detectives successfully tied evidence from Tiffany Campbell and Melissa Chilton’s murder to Streater.

Lara had no idea that her tip helped keep Streater off the streets for the 11 years it took cold case detectives in Nashville to secure an indictment.

“I felt pretty good. Not about these girls but that is, [it was] a long time ago to be doing that.”

That spring police gave Lara an award for her help. Our visit reminded her of something police told her in 2002. They were assuring her Streater would be in prison a long time.

“They told me they are pretty sure he had killed two younger girls,” she said.

Metro police haven’t said when Streater will return to Tennessee, but they placed a hold on him with the California department of corrections to make sure he isn’t released in the meantime.

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