California man found dead in SUV buried in mud

October 21, 2015
Highway 58 mudflow

Highway 58 mudflow

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.


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6 Comments

  1. Cindy says:

    “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.”

    Is Mr Purtee nuts or what? So in other words, if someone is being murdered, the city will not respond until the victim is reported missing?

    Cripe, citizens were calling about his situation and reporting his location. This is so sad on so many levels. I have to wonder why the citizens didn’t dig him out and then raise hell with the city. Poor man, poor family, how sad.

    (10) 20 Total Votes - 15 up - 5 down
  2. SpeakTruth says:

    “Several residents in the area said they alerted firefighters last week about the SUV stuck in the mud.”

    “We’ve been standing there looking at it saying, ‘somebody’s in there,’” Horwood said. “That’s somebody’s life. They drowned to death.

    And when the fire department didn’t show up, you did what? Leave? COME ON!

    Pardon me if anyone disagrees, but I believe saving a human life is the responsibility of anyone who knows it is in jeopardy.

    (26) 34 Total Votes - 30 up - 4 down
    • BeenThereDoneThat says:

      And ESPECIALLY those that are PAID to do it and were TOLD SO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      (10) 20 Total Votes - 15 up - 5 down
      • BeenThereDoneThat says:

        Otherwise why am I paying the taxes for said service???

        (8) 16 Total Votes - 12 up - 4 down
  3. MaryMalone says:

    Probably a week ago I read an article in the LATimes which mentioned a family who last saw their male family member being whooshed down the street where it disappeared. They were frantic about finding him, so I find it hard to believe the victim was not reported as MIA.

    (10) 14 Total Votes - 12 up - 2 down
  4. agag1 says:

    I know someone who was stranded for the night in this mess.
    They said they knew there were bodies in cars.
    How sad that it’s taken so long to recover this man.
    Sadly, there may be more.

    (17) 19 Total Votes - 18 up - 1 down

Comments are closed.