87-year-old California woman, a retired Los Angeles Sheriff's sergeant, found dead in freezer, authorities say
A retired Los Angeles County Sheriff sergeant was found dead in a freezer Sunday after police said her family had not been able to reach her for months.
Riverside police were called on Sunday morning to conduct a health check-up on an 87-year-old woman at her home in the city, about 50 miles east of Los Angeles, police officer Javier Cabrera said.
Cabrera said family members contacted police about the woman who the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department identified as Miriam Travis, a 27-year-old veteran of the department, after having heard from her for months.
When the officers arrived, they spoke to one of her daughters, 64, who had lived in the residence. But something felt weird, said Cabrera.
"Our officials noticed a lot of inconsistencies with what she said," he said. "Something was wrong."
The police searched the apartment and found a freezer in the garage. Inside, the authorities found Travis' body. Cabrera said it was unclear how long her body was in the freezer or how she died. An autopsy that could reveal the cause and type of death is still pending.
The autopsy will determine what type of charge would be made, he added.
The daughter was arrested and interrogated at the Riverside Police Department, but was later released. Cabrera said she is not currently considered a suspect but is a person of interest in the case.
"You hear about such cases, but in my 19 years I haven't personally seen a case like this," said Cabrera. "Regardless of the circumstances, it's tragic."
Travis ‘husband died in 1992, whereupon she suddenly changed locks on the house and cut off contact with her extended family, said a relative, Kerri Nickell, of Oklahoma.
"One day it was like my grandmother and then we never heard from her again," Nickell told the Press-Enterprise. She described Travis and her daughter as "some kind of hermit".
Cedric Valentin, 63, a landscaper who said he knew Travis, said he last saw her alive four months ago, the newspaper reported.
The Riverside Police Department did not officially disclose the woman's identity, but the Los Angeles County Sheriff's office confirmed her death and years of service with the department.
Travis worked in the department from 1963 until she retired in 1990, assuming a variety of roles, from working with teens to assisting an administrative research unit to finishing her homicide detective career - a role she said she was, according to the sheriff's office Held for 11 years.
"Our hearts are broken by this news and the entire LASD family mourns their loss," Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a statement.
Contribution: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: The sergeant of the 87-year-old ex-sheriff of Los Angeles was found dead in the freezer
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