Woman found dead in refrigerator ID’d as retired LA County sheriff’s sergeant

Nation and World

A home in Riverside, California, is seen on Sept. 20, 2021, one day after a woman’s body was discovered in a refrigerator inside the home’s garage. (Credit: KTLA)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KTLA) – An 87-year-old woman found dead inside a refrigerator in a California home has been identified as a retired Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sergeant.

The woman, Miriam Travis, was a sergeant at the Sheriff’s Department’s homicide bureau, The Press-Enterprise first reported. The Riverside County Coroner had yet to publicly identify the woman Tuesday.

The Sheriff’s Department confirmed the death of Travis — a 27-year veteran of the department who retired in 1990 — to KTLA and also that the Riverside Police Department is investigating the circumstances surrounding it.

The investigation unfolded after police called for a welfare check at a home in Riverside on Sunday discovered a body inside a refrigerator in the garage.

The officers had spoken to the victim’s daughter, who police said gave them “inconsistent” answers about her mother’s whereabouts, prompting a search of the home, according to Riverside police officer Ryan Railsback.

Homicide investigators were working to determine how the woman died before she was placed inside the refrigerator.

The daughter, who has not been identified, was detained for questioning and later released, police said Monday.

Family members who live on the East Coast called police to check on the woman because they had not heard from her for a couple of weeks.

“Our hearts are broken by this news, and the entire LASD family mourns her loss,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a statement Tuesday.

During her time at the sheriff’s department, Travis 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. 

Before retiring, she worked as a detective sergeant at the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau for 11 years, the agency said.

In a 1988 letter to mark her 25 years of service at the department, former L.A. County Sheriff Sherman Block said, “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,” according to the agency.

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