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Coroners using dental records to ID body

Dead woman may have been missing since Thanksgiving

Posted: August 4, 2008 10:39 p.m.
Updated: October 6, 2008 5:01 a.m.
While investigators believe they know the identity of the woman found dead in a Canyon Country home Friday, it will be some time before there is an official determination.

Due to the level of decomposition, the county Coroner's Office is using dental records to make a positive identification, said Sgt. Paul Delhauer with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau.

The body of the woman, who investigators believe to be a 66-year-old Tambora Drive resident, was found Friday morning when sheriff's deputies performed a home welfare check.

A woman on the East Coast had called the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station saying she had not heard from her mother for several months, and asked them to check the house.

Delhauer said Monday that the dead woman may not have been heard from as far back as last Thanksgiving.

When deputies found the body in a back bedroom under a blanket, the woman's son was also at the house.

Delhauer said the man has mental problems and "while he is an adult, he is a dependent adult."

On Friday the man was taken in for psychiatric evaluation, and Delhauer said Monday the man is still hospitalized.

There is so far no suspicion of foul play.

Between an autopsy and toxicology, it could be months before the Coroner's Office reaches an official determination of identity and cause of death.

In case such as this where there is a good idea of the dead person's identity, it is a bit easier to identify someone through dental records, said Lt. Fred Corral with the Coroner's Office.

However, he stressed that unlike the fictional world of TV shows like "CSI," identification is not an instant process.

"In reality it may take days, weeks - even close to a month," he said Monday.

A neighbor interviewed Friday said the woman and son tended to keep to themselves, and that residents of the hilly housing tract kept their distance.

She said a welfare check had been performed once before and sheriff's deputies had said at the time that the house was abandoned.


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