UPDATE: Homicide, suicide, ruled out in case of homeless woman found dead in her car

A woman's body was found in a vehicle on Carl Boyer drive near Babies R Us on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. Katharine Lotze/Signal

A homeless woman found dead in the backseat of her car parked in a parking lot on Carl Boyer Drive Tuesday morning was not murdered and did not take her own life, according to the homicide detective investigating the death.

The woman was identified Thursday as 57-year-old Julie Crane by a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Department.

An autopsy is pending and an official cause and manner of the woman’s death has yet to be determined, Lt. David Smith, of the Coroner’s Department, told The Signal Thursday morning.

“She was homeless,” Smith said.

Both homicide and suicide have been ruled out in the case, Detective Steven Lankford with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Homicide Bureau.

“It’s not a criminal case,” Lankford told The Signal Thursday. “We’re waiting for the autopsy to give us information.

“But, she didn’t die from foul play and it appears it was not suicide,” he said, noting the final determination on the manner of her death comes from the coroner.

Lankford said he suspects the woman died of natural causes or by accident.

Crane was the mother of two adult children – one who lives in San Diego and another who lives out of state, Lankford said, adding he spoke to one of them Wednesday.

“She (Crane) had been sleeping in her car for at least a month,” he said, noting she had just purchased the car.

Crane’s body was found Tuesday morning in the backseat of a white Kia in the parking lot near Babies “R” Us.

Deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s station were notified of the discovery immediately and, upon arrival, roped off an area around the car.

Although deputies learned Tuesday that the car had been seen parked in the parking for two days, when Crane died is still to be determined.

“We don’t know how long she’s been dead,” Dep. Curtis Foster told The Signal Tuesday.

“I believe she is known to have stayed in her car. The car had not been moved in a couple of days.” Foster said.


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