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UPDATED: Human remains found at LARC Ranch

May be body of woman missing since 2001

Posted: November 4, 2010 12:00 p.m.
Updated: November 4, 2010 12:00 p.m.

Officials from the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner are seen at LARC Ranch in Santa Clarita on Thursday. Placentia Police Department officials were led to the ranch after a suspect confessed to killing a woman and dumping her body there, according to authorities.


Coroner’s investigators were excavating human remains Thursday found on LARC Ranch off Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus.
The skeletal remains, which were discovered Wednesday, are believed to be those of Lynsie Ekelund, a 20-year-old college student from Placentia who was reported missing in February 2001.

Detectives arrested Chris McAmis in October after he told investigators he tried to rape Ekelund and then killed her during a fight in his home in Whittier, according to Lt. Dale Carlson of the Placentia Police Department, which was investigating the disappearance.
McAmis told police he took Ekelund’s body to LARC Ranch and buried it, Carlson said.

“(We) had enough information to arrest him, and during an interview he confessed,” Calrson said in front of LARC Ranch. “I haven’t seen that in my 23 years of police work.”

Calrson wouldn’t go into specifics about what information police had gathered before McAmis was arrested. The 31-year-old is being held without bail in Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles, according to arrest records.

A group of investigators were digging and sifting through piles of dirt near the ranch at 11:30 a.m. Thursday. The remains would likely be excavated by the end of the day, Carlson said.

“It’s like an archeological dig,” Carlson said.

McAmis said he used a tractor to dig a four-foot grave for the woman, coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter said. DNA testing and X-rays will be used to confirm the remains found are the missing woman’s.

Ekelund, who was partially paralyzed by a car accident as a child, vanished after going to a San Diego club with McAmis and two other students Feb. 17, 2001, investigators said.

Ekelund and McAmis were friends, Carlson said.

“So many people loved her,” her mother, Nancy Ekeland, told the Orange County Register. “She didn’t deserve to die by any means, at any age.”

The victim’s mother told The Associated Press in 2003 that she had left her daughter’s room intact, with posters on the walls and dirty clothes in the hamper. Nancy Ekelund also wrote a cookbook and raised $22,000 to reward anyone with information on the case.

She told the Register this week that at times she feared her daughter was dead, but occasional reports that she had been spotted — the last one just six months ago — buoyed her hopes.

“People said they saw her, so I would think maybe she is alive and she wanted to start a new life,” Nancy Ekelund said. “I think I hoped for it so much I believed it.”

She said she plans to hold a memorial service after her daughter’s body is recovered. She also said she  would like to help other parents in similar situations.

Signal staff writer Jonathan Randles contributed to this story.


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