SONORA (CBS13) — An FBI tip regarding murder for hire led to a woman’s arrest in Tuolumne County, authorities said on Sunday.

Heidi Butler
(credit: Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office)

Heidi Butler, 38, of Sonora, was arrested Friday evening at her home and faces charges for solicitation to commit murder, according to the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office.

Neighbors say Butler is a wife and mother, and a successful ICU lead nurse at a hospital in Sonora. It’s still not clear who was the intended target of this plot.

“Not in a million years would I have ever thought something like this would happen here,” said neighbor Julia Torigiani.

In Butler’s small, tight-knit neighborhood set up against the hazy Tuolumne County Hills, neighbors tell CBS13 they were shocked to hear this mother of four is accused of a murder for hire.

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“She always seemed kind of standoffish and kind of aloof,” said Torigiani.

No one knows who this plot could be against.

“It’s really kind of scary to think that someone who lives right next to you is capable of doing something like that,” Torigiani said.

Torigiani feels empathy for Butler’s husband. “Her children are very sweet and her husband is very nice,” she said.

On Tuesday, the District Attorney’s Office said they are now looking to bring Jeremie Butler into custody too, though it’s not clear why. The sheriff’s office says a tip and an active investigation led to a search warrant of Butler’s home where she was taken into custody.

Neither the sheriff’s office nor the district attorney is revealing who the murder for hire plot is against, calling the case, “sensitive.” The arraignment was tabled until Tuesday, and Butler must provide the court with financial records before she is assigned a public defender.

The hearing set for 1:30 p.m. in Superior County Court.


By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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