A woman who authorities feared was being held hostage in a Northern California hotel room during a police standoff was actually on a different floor of the building, a newspaper reported.
Police determined nearly 24 hours into the standoff that the woman was not in a second floor room with her boyfriend but on the fourth floor with the couple's dog, The Marin Independent Journal (http://bit.ly/pwQrm5) said Thursday.
It was unclear why the woman did not come forward sooner as police swarmed the San Rafael hotel seeking 38-year-old Peter James Thomas, who was found dead in his room Thursday afternoon.
The cause of his death has not been released. Authorities say law enforcement did not kill him.
Thomas was being sought Wednesday on suspicion of shoplifting and attacking clerks at a grocery store with a knife when a shot was fired from the hotel, prompting the standoff and the hours-long closure of a nearby freeway.
Traffic finally began moving early Thursday after police lowered a large metal plate in front of Thomas' hotel window to protect passing vehicles from possible gunfire.
Police were also seeking Thomas on a warrant for failing to appear in court in a Marin County burglary and weapons case.
His criminal record includes robbery and vehicle theft convictions, and he served time in at least three state prisons, according to the California Department of Corrections. He escaped from prison firefighting camp in 1996, records show.
Authorities did not release the name of Thomas' girlfriend, who was not arrested.
Information from: Marin Independent Journal, http://www.marinij.com