A 66-year-old California woman has been accused of murder after her daughter said she deliberately drowned another daughter 42 years ago.

Patricia Thomas has been accused of holding the head of her 4-year-old daughter, Cynthia Howell, under the water in the bathtub of their Auburn home in 1970, The Sacramento Bee reported Sunday.

Thomas' other daughter, 47-year-old Wendy Peck, who was 5 years old at the time of the incident, told her therapist about seeing her mother hold her sister's head down in the bathtub and felt she had to tell authorities to overcome her emotional distress.

"My doctors tell me that I can't be scared of the truth, and face it head on or I will die," Peck wrote in a message to Thomas' granddaughter about the incident.

Thomas said she is innocent and that the girl drowned while she was out of the room, though in a police-monitored meeting between her and Peck, she told a different story.

"Patricia finally broke down, telling Wendy that she bumped Cindy's head on the faucet," the police's investigative report said. "Cindy became unconscious and she left her there to drown."

Thomas was in Placer County jail for a month but has been released to house arrest and is being monitored by a GPS device.