Foul play suspected in body found near Golden Valley

Sheriff's homicide detectives brief a forensics technician near the area where human remains were discovered. (Austin Dave/The Signal)

Although foul play is suspected in the case of human remains found Tuesday in a field near Golden Valley High School, homicide detectives waiting for autopsy clues say it’s too early to call the case murder.

Other details revealed Wednesday point to the body being about two months old.

“Any time you find a body in a location like this there’s always some type of foul play suspected,” Sgt. Troy Ewing of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Homicide Bureau told The Signal Wednesday.

“But, it could be anything,” he said. “It could be someone who overdosed, where the friend got scared and dumped the body, you don’t know.

“And, we won’t know until the coroner conducts his investigation,” Ewing said.

Coroner spokeswoman Kelly Yagerlener told The Signal Wednesday that the body’s gender is “undetermined.”

The body, described as being in the later stages of decomposition, was found shortly after 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sgt. Brian Allen of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station told The Signal.

It was found south of Robert C. Lee Parkway, southwest of the high school, at the bottom of an embankment in a “dirt field turnaround” area off of Golden Valley Road, Allen said.

After news of the discovery was made public, relatives of missing people began calling The Signal, asking if it could be their missing loved one.

Similar phone calls were made to the LASD’s Homicide Bureau, Ewing said, noting that concerned relatives are put in touch with detectives assigned specifically to investigate missing people.

The list of people reported missing in the Santa Clarita Valley is long enough to leave several families fearing the grim find Tuesday could be the remains of their loved one.

The list includes: Will Cierzan, 58, of Valencia, missing since Jan. 26, now six weeks ago; Maricela Garcia, 26, of Tarzana, missing since Jan. 13, and 19-year-old old Luis Fernando Prado Perez, of Salinas, who went missing in the SCV last summer on July 29.

News of the body being about two months old eliminates the likelihood of it being one of a couple of other high-profile missing person cases in the SCV as well.

Bryce Laspisa, 19, went missing in August 2013.

At 5:30 a.m. Aug. 30, 2013, California Highway Patrol officers found Laspisa’s 2003 Toyota Highlander SUV, its back window shattered, apparently toppled off a road near Castaic Lake.

In the days and weeks – and now years – that followed, searchers combed the Castaic Lake area for the missing red-haired young man, without luck.

Also on the list of lingering SCV mysteries, is the location of remains belonging to murder victim Ann Racz, 42.

Racz’s husband former sheriff’s sergeant John Racz was convicted in August 2007 of having murdered her.  Her body was never found.


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