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California woman killed in 1977 identified as Linda LeBeau by cold case team

A Southern California woman who was killed in 1977 has been identified by a cold case team, authorities said Friday. A skull and other skeletal remains found in 1986 were identified this week as those of Linda LeBeau, who was reported missing in Tustin, the Riverside County district attorney's office said.

Linda LeBeau Riverside County District Attorney's Office

LeBeau, whose maiden name was Durnall, was born on April 10, 1950. Her remains were found down an embankment along the Ortega Highway in Lake Elsinore by state highway surveyors. Investigators determined that the victim had been shot in the head but they couldn't identify the remains, the DA's office said.

Last August, the Regional Cold Case Homicide Team had several sets of remains exhumed and sent for DNA comparisons. LeBeau's remains were identified after a possible match was found between DNA of possible relatives and DNA in a state missing persons database, authorities said.

LeBeau was divorced and her boyfriend reported her missing to Tustin police in 1977, authorities said.

On the day LeBeau went missing, she was supposed to meet her ex-husband, Phillip LeBeau, at a restaurant to collect money he owed for damaging her boyfriend's car, reported. Witnesses reported seeing her arguing with a man believed to be Phillip LeBeau at a nearby gas station and she was never seen again, the outlet reported.

The Orange County Register reported that Phillip LeBeau was considered a suspect in the case, but he died in 2008.

"Tustin police investigators had maintained an active investigation into the missing persons, possible homicide case, since her disappearance, continuing to follow up on leads, but had not been able to bring the case to resolution,"  the Riverside County district attorney's office said.

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