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SIGNAL EXCLUSIVE: Coroner says murdered Canyon Country woman was asphyxiated

Officials release cause of death in case of Canyon Country woman reported missing, then murdered

Posted: June 29, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 29, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Detectives have not named Dusan Klein, left, as a suspect in the murder of his wife, Renata, right. The Coroner's Office said Tuesday that Renata Klein's cause of death was asphyxiation. Detectives are looking for Dusan Klein.


The Canyon Country woman who disappeared mysteriously with her husband, and whose body was found earlier this month in the Angeles National Forest, died of asphyxiation, The Signal learned Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the family vehicle reported missing along with the couple and their dog was found in an abandoned parking lot in North Las Vegas, a Sheriff's Department sergeant said Tuesday.

Renata "Rennie" Klein, whose body was found two weeks ago, was murdered by asphyxiation, a coroner's spokesman disclosed Tuesday.

The county coroner's office had previously declined to release the cause of death for Klein, whose body was found June 15 along a stretch of Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road that was closed to the public.

"For Renata Klein, her cause of death was asphyxia and her manner of death was murder," coroner's spokesman Craig Harvey said Tuesday.

Asphyxia or asphyxiation occurs when a severely deficient supply of oxygen to the body prevents a person from breathing normally.


Car found

Detectives were still looking for the husband, Dusan Klein, police said. The 59-year-old couple went missing from their Canyon Country home June 12.

Officers with the North Las Vegas Police Department found Klein's 1999 gold-colored Jeep Grand Cherokee on Sunday in a parking lot at 2740 E. Lake Mead Blvd. in North Las Vegas, about a mile north of the Las Vegas strip, said sheriff's lead homicide investigator Sgt. Robert Martindale.

"We did locate the car in North Las Vegas," he said. "Officers with the North Las Vegas Police Department located it behind an abandoned building.

"We impounded it and had it shipped back here yesterday," Martindale said Tuesday. "Currently, we're examining it for forensic evidence."

Detectives have not named the husband as a suspect in his wife's murder.

"We still don't know if he's a victim of foul play or what," Martindale said.

Checking in Europe

The Kleins, originally from the Czech Republic, lived in the Santa Clarita Valley for 28 years.

Renata Klein, according to coworkers, had worked Saturday June 11 at a local flower shop.

They were reportedly seen later driving away from their house on Wildwind Road.

Renata Klein's body was found June 15 in the Angeles National Forest by workers trying to restore areas badly burned in wildfires.

Since then, detectives following up on reports the Kleins had talked about leaving the country have been in touch with law enforcement agencies in Europe.

"There's no indication he's gone back to the Czech Republic," Martindale said. "At least no indication by conventional means of entering the country."

The Klein's dog, Cindy - a black-and-white cocker spaniel - also remains missing.

The dog, which coworkers of the murdered woman described as in need of expensive surgery, was not found at or near the recovered car.

"This dog did not have a microchip locator," Martindale said. "It did have a licence number on a collar."

Klein is described by detectives as 6-foot-2, weighing 190 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes.

Anyone with information is asked to call homicide detectives at 323-890-5500.



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