LA County Sheriff Sergeant’s body found inside garage freezer during welfare check of a home

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RIVERSIDE, CA – The body of an 87-year-old woman who was discovered inside of a garage freezer has since been identified as a retired Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sergeant who worked in the homicide bureau of the department.

Officials say the discovery of the elderly woman’s body came after a welfare check was conducted at a home in Riverside.

The deceased has been identified as 87-year-old Miriam Travis, who retired from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in 1990 after serving the department for 27 years.

Family members of Travis who reside on the east coast had also contacted authorities to check on her due to not having heard from her in roughly two weeks.

Officials noted that the victim’s 64-year-old daughter had previously provided “inconsistent” answers regarding her mother’s whereabouts – which was what led to police conducting the welfare check and search of the home on September 19th that led to the discovery of Travis’ body, according to Riverside Police Officer Javier Cabrera:

“Once they began speaking with the daughter, there were some inconsistencies with her story as to her mom’s whereabouts. The officers detained the daughter and ultimately went inside the residence.”

Officials described the state of the residence as being disheveled – to a point where is almost looked as though it was occupied by hoarders.

The daughter, who has not been publicly identified by authorities, was briefly detained and later released after questioning.

Police did not disclose on whether there was any suspicion that Travis’ 64-year-old daughter tried to intentionally mislead police while initially questioning her about her mother’s whereabouts.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva provided the following statement regarding the death of Travis:

“Our hearts are broken by this news, and the entire LASD family mourns her loss.”

A cause of death has not been specified as of this time, but homicide investigators are working to determine how Travis passed before she was placed inside of the refrigerator.

Kerri Nickell of Oklahoma, who spoke with Press Enterprise and identified herself as Travis’ step-granddaughter, said that Travis and Travis’ daughter became “kind of hermits” after Travis’ husband passed away in 1992: 

“It was like this is my grandmother one day, and then we never heard from her again.”

Randy Hayes, the 63-year-old neighbor of Travis who resided near her for decades, also noted that he’d rarely ever see Travis or her daughter:

“I cannot overstate enough how reclusive they were.”

During Travis’ career with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, she held assignments at the Sybil Brand Institute for Women, the Administrative Research Bureau and East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station’s Juvenile Detective and Youth Services.

Prior to Travis’ retirement in 1990, she served as a detective sergeant at the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau for 11 years.

In a letter commemorating Travis’ 25th year of service in 1988, former L.A. County Sheriff Sherman Block had written the following about Travis:

“The County of Los Angeles, and more particularly the Department of the Sheriff, is extremely fortunate in having retained the services of so faithful and devoted an employee.”

At this point in the investigation, it’s unclear whether Travis passed from natural causes or if there was some nefarious element regarding her death. However, authorities have not outwardly described or disclosed the presence of physical trauma to Travis.

Furthermore, police did not imply that Travis’ death was in any connected to her former work with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

This is an ongoing investigation.

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we continue to gather further updates on this developing case.

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RFK’s assassin might walk free after report that far-left Los Angeles DA’s office won’t oppose parole

(Originally published August 26th, 2021)

LOS ANGELES, CA- On Friday, August 27th, Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, the man convicted of assassinating Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, will go before a California parole board for what will be his 16th time seeking release. 

However, unlike his past attempts for freedom, there will be no opposition from prosecutors as Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón will not be at the hearing, making it the first time prosecutors will not be in attendance. 

Reportedly, his office will also not send a letter about the parole, claiming the office wants to “remain neutral” in the massive murder case. Alex Bastian, special advisor to Gascón, said in a statement:

“The role of the prosecutor and their access to information ends at sentencing. The parole board’s sole purpose is to objectively determine whether someone is suitable for release. If someone is the same person that committed an atrocious crime, that person will correctly not be found suitable for release.”

Bastian added:

“However, if someone is no longer a threat to public safety after having served more than 50 years in prison, then the parole board may recommend release based on an objective determination.”

Sirhan, a Christian-born Palestinian from Jordan who opposed Kennedy’s support for Israel, shot the presidential hopeful on June 5, 1968, in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, where he was celebrating victory in the state’s Democratic primary. Kennedy, who was 42-years-old at the time, died the following day.

Sirhan was caught with a gun in his hand, but has maintained for years that he does not remember shooting Kennedy. He was initially sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted to life in prison after the state of California abolished the death penalty. 

For 15 years, prosecutors have opposed Sirhan’s parole. However, since becoming the city’s top prosecutor in December 2020, Gascón declared his office would follow a “default policy.”

So, rather than attend parole hearings, prosecutors would instead submit letters backing certain inmates who logged their mandatory minimums and no longer pose a threat to society. 

The last time Sirhan sought parole was in 2016. At the time, Commissioner Brian Roberts described the killing as “a political assassination of a viable Democratic presidential candidate.” He added:

“This crime impacted the nation and I daresay it impacted the world.”

The parole board proceeded to deny Sirhan’s release. During a 2011 parole hearing, the board said Sirhan had not shown enough remorse or understanding of the severity of his crime.

To fill the law enforcement void at the parole hearings, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced in February that detectives would be present at parole hearings in the prosecutors absence. He said in a letter to Gascón:

“The purpose of this correspondence is to notify you, if prosecutors will no longer be allowed to attend parole hearings, the LASD will attend parole hearings in the absence of your prosecutors. At the request of family members, the LASD will do everything possible to give victims a voice at the table to address their concerns.”

As of this writing, it is unclear if LA county sheriffs will be present at Sirhan’s hearing on August 27th. 

Sirhan’s new attorney Angela Berry is not making a case to deny any facts of the man’s involvement in the fatal shooting, which also wounded five other people standing behind Kennedy in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel.

Instead, Berry’s pre-hearing brief will attempt to show how Sirhan was just 24-years-old when he killed Kennedy. She also plans to impress upon the board the man’s exemplary record while serving his prison term, his remorse for causing the bloodshed and drive home how there’s an unlikelihood that he would commit another crime.

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Man high on drugs breaks into California jail, gets arrested and then released on his own recognizance

(Originally published August 30th, 2021)

SAN MATEO, CA-  On Thursday, August 19th, prosecutors announced that a 35-year-old Redwood City man has been accused of breaking into a San Mateo County Jail.

According to reports, the man pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of trespassing and identity theft after he was found sitting in the lobby of the Maple Street Correctional Center’s transitional housing unit. 

Prosecutors stated that a correction officer responded to a late night alarm that went off and found the man sitting in the lobby. After initially thinking he was an inmate who had left his cell, the officer realized the man was in street clothes. 

Surveillance footage shows the man had climbed over an exterior and interior fence and then climbed to the second floor patio at the facility. He then proceeded to enter the jail through the patio door.

According to prosecutors, the man had credit cards from other people in his possession and allegedly admitted to being under the influence of methamphetamine and alcohol. 

The man said he was trying to get away from a man with a gun and didn’t know he had entered a jail. He entered his not guilty pleas to the misdemeanor charges and was released on his own recognizance.

While this is a rare case of someone breaking into a correctional facility, an inmate incarcerated in Americus, Georgia recently escaped. According to reports, the inmate, since identified as Rodriquez Germany got away from the Sumter County Correctional Institute.

Germany was serving time for burglary and drug possession. He reportedly took someone’s car that was a few houses down from the prison. The car belonged to the niece of fallen officer Georgia Southwestern University Public Safety Officer Jody Smith. Smith was killed in the line of duty in 2016. 

Sheriff Eric Bryant said that the victim left her car unlocked with the keys in it. Bryant said in a statement:

“Well, of course she’s very frustrated because again she’s usually conscientious of things like this. This is one of those freak things were she forgot to bring her keys inside that particular morning, well that particular night she fell victim in the wee hours of the morning. Outside of that, we’re working very closely, of course with her and our surrounding neighboring counties as well as other agencies, trying to locate this vehicle and get it back to the rightful owner.”

He took a gray 2010 Honda Civic hatchback with the license plate BA1LEE. Germany is 5 feet and weighs 189 pounds. 

In a separate incident, a Limestone County, Alabama inmate who escaped from his work-release site on the morning of August 17th, is back in custody. On the day of the escape, the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office was notified by Vulcan Plastics in Athens that a work-release inmate left the property on a black Kawasaki motorcycle belonging to another employee.

According to a press release from the Florence Police Department (FPD), officers spotted a black motorcycle matching the description of the one stolen earlier in the day. When officers tried to stop the vehicle, the driver fled from police.

FPD stated that the speeds in the pursuit exceeded 100mph. The driver missed a curve, left the road, and struck a stone wall. 35-year-old Joel Dwight Gooch was ejected off the bike.

Gooch had multiple felony and misdemeanor warrants at the time of the crash. FPD continues to investigate the incident and additional charges on Gooch are pending. 

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