Missing since 1977, remains found in Lake Elsinore in 1986 ID’d as Tustin woman

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif., — Authorities today announced that a woman reported missing from Tustin in 1977 has been identified through the efforts of the Riverside County Regional Cold Case Homicide Team.

According to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, in 1986 a Caltrans crew doing survey work along the Ortega Highway in Lake Elsinore located partial skeletal remains, including a skull, down an embankment and notified the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.


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Investigators determined that the victim had been shot in the head; however, they were unable to identify the victim or any suspects in the potential murder case at the time.

In August 2021, the Cold Case Homicide Team, which includes the Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office, had several bodies/skeletal remains exhumed in cold case homicides. The skull found in 1986 was among those, and it was sent to a Department of Justice lab for possible DNA comparison.

Skeletal remains found in Lake Elsinore in 1986 were recently determined to be those of Linda LeBeau Durnall, who was reported as missing from the Tustin area in 1977. Riverside County District Attorney’s Office photo

Earlier this week, it was determined that the person whose remains were found in 1986 are those of Linda LeBeau, maiden name of Durnall, who was born April 10, 1950. The identification was done through a familial DNA match in the Department of Justice’s Missing Unidentified Persons database.

Investigators found that Linda LeBeau Durnall, who was divorced, was reported missing by her boyfriend to the Tustin police department in 1977. Tustin police investigators had maintained an active investigation into the missing persons, possible homicide case, since her disappearance. They had been continuing to follow up on leads but had not been able to bring the case to a resolution.

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. The team is available to assist in the investigation of cold case homicides for all Riverside County law enforcement agencies.

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.