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Skeletal Remains Found While Searching For Missing Woman Kolby Story Amid Homeless Encampment Cleanup On Venice Boardwalk

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Amid another round of homeless encampment cleanups taking place along the Venice Boardwalk Friday, authorities discovered skeletal remains while searching for a missing woman.

Homeless Encampment Cleanup Continues On Venice Boardwalk; Search Underway For Missing Woman
An undated photo of 32-year-old Kolby Story, who went missing in December of 2020 in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles. (LAPD)

During Friday morning's cleanup, Los Angeles police officers responded to a report that a woman was being held against her will in a beach tunnel in the 13700 block of Fiji Way. They did not find a woman when they got on scene. However, officers did find a checkbook and driver's license belonging to 32-year-old Kolby Story, who has been missing since December.

The LAPD reported later Friday that officers and detectives, along with members of the California Office of Emergency Management, would be conducting a search for Story in the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve and Ballona Creek, located south of Marina Del Rey.

During their search, officers located skeletal remains. The remains were being processed and will be sent to the L.A. County Coroner to be identified.

Story was last seen on Dec. 7, 2020, in the 12300 block of Pacific Avenue in Mar Vista. Story is described as white, 5-foot-4, 115 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes.

Homeless Encampment Cleanup Continues On Venice Boardwalk; Search Underway For Missing Woman Kolby Story
Police search a tunnel in Venice, Calif., where the belongings of missing 32-year-old woman Kolby Story were found on July 16, 2021. (CBSLA)

Meanwhile, authorities had set a deadline of 7 a.m. Friday to clear out homeless encampments along Ocean Front Walk between Navy Street and Rose Avenue, a section known as Zone 5. The deadline was originally July 9, but was then extended a full week.

City sanitation workers were doing spot cleanups around the encampments and removing belongings which had been left behind.

Embattled Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin -- who is facing a recall push over the Westside homeless crisis -- reported Thursday that 118 people so far have been moved from the boardwalk are now in shelters awaiting to be placed in more permanent housing.

The effort is part of Bonin's "Encampment to Home" program, which began on June 28 with the goal of clearing the Venice Boardwalk of homeless encampments. Bonin said it may take time to place the unhoused residents into the permanent housing options, particularly through the voucher program, as the city must identify willing landlords and available units.

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In the interim, temporary housing has been given, including up to six months of motel placements, which is the most commonly requested form of temporary housing, Bonin said.

The L.A. City Council has set aside $5 million for Bonin's project.

Zone 4, between Rose and Dudley avenues, was also slated to be cleared by Friday. Zone 3, between Dudley and Sunset avenues, will be cleared by July 23, while Zone 2, between Sunset and Park avenues, will be cleared by July 30.

The program's partners include People Assisting the Homeless, Safe Place for Youth, Venice Family Clinic, Self Help and Recovery Exchange and CLARE Matrix. Participating government agencies include the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the Public Health, Mental Health and Recreation & Parks departments, and the Bureau of Sanitation.

Bonin has been at odds with L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva after the sheriff sent deputies to Venice Beach last month to clear some of the homeless off the boardwalk, despite the fact that Venice Beach is not in LASD's jurisdiction.

The homeless crisis has continued to dominate the political landscape. Earlier this month, the L.A. City Council tentatively approved an ordinance that would ban homeless encampments from sidewalks and many other parts of the city.

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