Skull found ID’ed as woman reported missing 

The L.A. County Medical Examiner/Coroner's Office logo
The L.A. County Medical Examiner/Coroner's Office logo

A woman whose skull was found by Caltrans workers on the side of the road in February was identified as a woman reported missing by her family in December, a spokesman for the coroner’s office said Friday. 

The skull found around 1 p.m. Feb. 26 by employees working on the shoulder of the Valencia Boulevard off-ramp for the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 was identified as belonging to Johanna Swanson, a 46-year-old who did not have a city of residence listed, according to an email Friday from Kelly Vail of the L.A. County Coroner’s Office. 

The California Highway Patrol’s L.A. Communications Center log indicated the workers contacted law enforcement officials after the discovery was made, according to Josh Greengard, spokesman for the CHP’s Newhall area office.  

Officials temporarily closed the off-ramp during their initial investigation. 

Greengard was not immediately available Friday to comment on the status of the investigation, which is being handled by the agency’s Internal Services Unit. 

The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department issued an alert to the public regarding an “at-risk missing person” on Dec. 16. The alert indicated Swanson, who suffers from depression, had not been seen by family since 11 p.m. the previous night in the 25000 block of Silver Aspen Way. 

Her skull was found less than a quarter-mile from where she was last seen by family. 

Investigators initially referred to the incident as Unidentified Doe No. 70 due to the state of the remains found and the lack of identification. 

The southbound off-ramp of Valencia Boulevard was closed for the investigation. 

The work being conducted is part of the I-5 North County Enhancements Project, according to Patrick Chandler, a spokesman for LA Metro.  

There was no additional information available at this time.  

Anyone who might have information about the remains or what happened can call “LA Crime Stoppers” by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477), texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or using the website  

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