Investigators believe they have positively identified the human remains found down an embankment in Lake Elsinore in 1986 as those of a woman who had been reported missing to Tustin police in 1977, Riverside County District Attorney’s office officials said.
The remains were found along Ortega Highway by a Caltrans crew doing survey work, and were reported to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. At the time, sheriff’s investigators determined the person had been shot in the head, but could not identify the person or any suspects at the time, a news release said.
In August 2021, the Cold Case Homicide Team exhumed several remains in cold case homicides and the remains found in 1986 were among those sent to a Department of Justice lab for possible DNA comparison.
Linda LeBeau, who was also known as Linda Louise Durnall, was divorced and reported missing to the Tustin Police Department by her boyfriend in 1977. At the time of her disappearance, she was 27 years old and police investigators were not able to resolve the case, a news release said.
The remains were positively matched to LeBeau through a familial DNA match in the Department of Justice’s Missing Unidentified Persons database.
Tustin police have followed multiple leads in the case, which has remained an open investigation.
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.
Source: OC Register