RIVERSIDE – A woman reported missing from Tustin in 1977 has been identified through the efforts of the Riverside County Regional Cold Case Homicide Team.
Partial skeletal remains, including a skull, were found in 1986 down an embankment along the Ortega Highway in Lake Elsinore. A Cal-Trans crew doing survey work located the remains and notified the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
Investigators at the time determined that the victim had been shot in the head. However, they were unable to identify the victim or any suspects in the potential murder case.
In August of 2021, the Cold Case Homicide Team, which includes the Riverside County Coroner’s Office, had several bodies/skeletal remains exhumed in cold case homicides. The skull found in 1986 was among those and it was sent to a Department of Justice lab for possible DNA comparison.
Earlier this week, it was determined that the person whose remains were found in 1986 are those of Linda LeBeau, maiden name of Durnall, who had a DOB of April 10, 1950. The identification was done through a familial DNA match in the Department of Justice’s Missing Unidentified Persons database.
Investigators found that Linda LeBeau Durnall, who was divorced, was reported missing by her boyfriend to the Tustin Police Department in 1977. Tustin police investigators had maintained an active investigation into the missing persons, possible homicide case, since her disappearance, continuing to follow up on leads, but had not been able to bring the case to resolution.
The Regional Cold Case Homicide Team is comprised of members of the DA’s Office Bureau of Investigation, the Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner Department, the FBI, and the Riverside Police Department. The team is available to assist in the investigation of cold case homicides for all Riverside County law enforcement agencies.
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