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UPDATED: Canyon Country woman was murder victim

Posted: June 22, 2011 5:32 p.m.
Updated: June 22, 2011 5:32 p.m.
 

Renata “Rennie” Klein, the Canyon Country woman whose body was found in the Angeles National Forest last week, was a murder victim, sheriff’s officials announced Wednesday.

Klein, 59, whose disappearance with her husband puzzled neighbors and prompted detectives to call for public assistance in their hunt, will be memorialized at a funeral service today in Newhall.

At Sheriff’s Department headquarters in Monterey Park today, Sheriff Lee Baca has scheduled a news conference to share details of the case, about which investigators have been tight-lipped until now.

Husband missing
Homicide detectives announced Wednesday afternoon that an autopsy performed on Klein’s body indicates she was murdered.

Detectives are still trying to locate the murdered woman’s husband, Dusan Klein, also 59, his 1999 gold-colored Jeep Cherokee and the couple’s dog Cindy, who have not been reported seen since June 11.

The body of Renata Klein was found June 15 in isolated section of the Angeles National Forest on a road closed to the public. The same day, the Sheriff’s Department issued a public appeal for help in finding the couple.

An autopsy indicated she had been murdered, detectives announced Wednesday.

Friends and family of the murdered woman are expected at 1 p.m. today at Eternal Valley Memorial Park.

Very caring
“We always said to each other, ‘Whoever goes first, the other would do the funeral piece,’” said Renata Klein’s longtime friend and fellow flower arranger Yatsive Robinson.

Today, Robinson has the sad task of fulfilling that pact between friends.

“She loved everything that was wild and natural,” Robinson said Wednesday, tweaking petals on a wreath for the memorial. “This is very, very sad. Too sad.”

Myra Harbour, owner of the flower shop Celebrate where the women worked, described Renata Klein on Wednesday as “somebody who loved flowers, somebody who loved animals and very, very caring.”

Harbour said Klein never called in sick in her four years working at Celebrate — except June 10.

“She would always take Mondays off,” Harbour said. “That was the day she phoned her mother.”

Klein was born in the Czech Republic and her mother, Dana Makesova, still lives in Europe, she said.

Body found
Klein’s body was found June 15 at 7:30 a.m. by workers helping to restore a fire-damaged area on Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road.

Homicide detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said the discovery was made at the 8.95 mile marker on Upper Big Tujunga.

“We’re still looking for the car.” said Homicide Detective Sgt. Robert Martindale.

The couple owns a gold-colored 1999 Jeep Cherokee with the license plate number is 4FLN519. It has a sticker attached to its window that reads: American Travel.

Also missing is the couple’s dog Cindy, a black-and-white cocker spaniel.

“She loved that dog,” Robinson said, adding that many of the shared conversations she had with Klein while arranging flowers involved the dog.

Most recently, those talks hinged on money concerns.

Lost their home
“She said Cindy was going to need some surgery, and that it was very pricey,” Robinson said.

News of an expensive operation fell on the heels of other money woes vexing the Kleins.

On April 4, the couple’s four-bedroom house on Wildwind Road fell into foreclosure.

For more than 13 years, the Kleins lived in the house. He worked for American West Travel; she arranged flowers.

In April, a Los Angeles-based real estate firm specializing in buying foreclosed homes purchased the Klein house.

Robinson said her friend Rennie never mentioned the foreclosure.

Renata Klein was scheduled to work June 10, but her husband phoned Robinson, she said, to report his wife was ill, vomiting and would not be coming in to work that day.

On June 11, Klein showed up for work.

“I tapped her on the back and said ‘How are you feeling?’ And she said ‘I’m feeling good,’” Robinson said. “She looked fine.”

Anyone with information about the murder or Dusan Klein whereabouts is asked to contact Detective Robert Martindale of the Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.

 

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