California man found dead in SUV buried in mud
October 21, 2015
Los Angeles County firefighters found the remains of a 49-year-old Palmdale man in an SUV buried under six feet of mud Tuesday. [NBC LA]
Officials say the person is likely a victim of the recent storm and mudsliding. However, homicide detectives are investigating the death.
The Los Angeles County Coroner has identified the man as Robert Rasmussen. Rasmussen’s vehicle was found around 12:50 p.m. Tuesday in Palmdale, according to the LA County Fire Department.
Firefighters arrived about 10 minutes later and began digging the vehicle out of the mud. As they were digging, the firefighters discovered what appeared to be a human hand protruding from the vehicle.
When discovered, the vehicle was titled sideways in a retention basin. The location was hit hard last week by storms which caused flooding and mud and debris flows.
Several residents in the area said they alerted firefighters last week about the SUV stuck in the mud. Resident Stacey Horwood said she tried telling authorities multiple times that someone was in the vehicle.
“We’ve been standing there looking at it saying, ‘somebody’s in there,’” Horwood said. “That’s somebody’s life. They drowned to death. They’re underneath that ground and nobody took them out.”
Palmdale City Manager James Purtee, as well as the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, said no one reported the missing person, and conditions made it difficult for workers to search the area.
Heavy storms and mudslides shut down the Grapevine section of Interstate 5 last week, which caused traffic to build up in San Luis Obispo County. Emergency workers were also pulling vehicles out of the mud this week along a stretch of Highway 58 near Tehachapi.