Body of elderly woman – retired homicide detective – found inside Riverside freezer, victim’s daughter questioned

UPDATED: Tuesday, Sept. 21, 11:27 a.m., With additional details.

Originally Published: Monday, Sept. 20, 11:08 a.m.

RIVERSIDE, Calif., — Authorities say their investigation is continuing after an 87-year-old woman’s body was found stuffed inside a freezer in the garage of a Riverside home over the weekend. A woman, reported to be the victim’s daughter, was questioned but remains free while officials conduct further investigation. The gruesome discovery was made in the 6000 block of New Ridge Drive, northeast of Alessandro Boulevard and Canyon Crest Drive, while officers were investigating reports of a woman whose out-of-state family members had not heard from her in several months.

Press-Enterprise has reported the victim has been identified by family members as Miriam Travis, a retired Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department homicide detective, and LA County Sheriff’s spokesperson Deputy Maria Lucero has confirmed that Travis was a sergeant at the homicide bureau from 1979 until she retired in 1990. 

Although the Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office has yet to publicly confirm the victim’s identity as of this morning, a Sheriff’s spokesperson said an autopsy has been scheduled for later today.

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City of Riverside police officers were dispatched to the residence to conduct a welfare check on the elderly woman, who lived there with a daughter, Riverside Police Officer Javier Cabrera has since reported.

The welfare check was requested by concerned family members who live out of state who told officers they had not recently heard from the woman.

Details are continuing to emerge after the body of an 87-year-old woman, reported to be a retired Los Angeles County Sheriff’s homicide detective, was found stuffed inside a freezer in a Riverside home’s garage over the weekend. LoudLabs News photo

While speaking with the woman’s daughter at the Riverside residence officers noted the “disheveled” home had a foul odor and was packed with trash amidst hoarder-conditions and the woman being questioned provided incoherent statements regarding her mother’s whereabouts.

After confronting the woman about several inconsistencies in her statements they subsequently located the 87-year-old woman’s body hidden in a freezer in the garage of the residence.

The daughter, whose name has not yet been released, was not arrested and she was released pending further investigation, according to Cabrera.

After seeing all the activity in his neighborhood and hearing of the ongoing investigation, neighbor Randy Hayes, 63, told Press Enterprise he had been living next door to the two women for 27 years and knew them well. However their regular interactions began to wane after the pair became more reclusive, with one family member describing them as “hermits”.

“Shocking. Very shocking,” Hayes said of the allegations. “Especially because she’s little old sweet Miriam.”

Riverside PD’s investigation is continuing and no further details have been released.

Officials have asked that anyone with further information contact their department at (951) 826-5700. Callers can remain anonymous.



Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 50, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.

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