87-year-old California woman, a retired Los Angeles Sheriff's sergeant, found dead in freezer, authorities say

After her family had not been able to contact her in months, a retired Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department sergeant died in a freezer on Sunday.
Javier Cabrera, a Riverside Police Officer, stated that the Riverside Police Department was called to perform a wellness check at the home of 87-year old woman. The city is approximately 50 miles east from Los Angeles.

Cabrera stated that family members contacted police to inquire about the woman. The Los Angeles Sheriffs Department identified her as Miriam Travis. She is a veteran of the department for 27 years, having not heard from her in months.

Officers arrived at the home to speak with one of her 64-year-old daughters who had lived in the house for many years. Cabrera stated that something was not right.

He said that "our officers noticed a lot inconsistencies in what she was saying" "Something was not adding up."

The garage contained a freezer that was standing up. Police searched the house. Inside, authorities found Travis' body. Cabrera stated that it is not clear how long Travis' body was kept in the freezer. An autopsy is being performed to determine the cause and manner of her death.

He said that the autopsy would determine what kind of charges, if any.

The Riverside Police Department detained the daughter and interrogated her. She was eventually released. Cabrera stated that she is not a suspect but is an individual of interest in the case.

Cabrera stated, "You hear of cases like these, but in my 19-years, I haven’t personally seen one like them." It doesn't matter what the circumstances are, it's still tragic.

Travis' husband, Travis, died in 1992. She then changed the locks and cut off all contact with her extended families, according to Kerri Nickell, a relative from Oklahoma.

Nickell explained to the Press-Enterprise that it was almost like she was my grandmother. Then we never heard from her again. She described Travis, her daughter, as kind of hermits.

Continue the story

Cedric Valentin (63), a landscaper, claimed he knew Travis and said that he last saw Travis alive four months ago. The paper reported.

Although Riverside Police did not release the identity of this woman, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's office confirmed that she had died and served many years at the department.

Travis was with the department from 1963 to her retirement in 1990. She held a number of roles, including working with juveniles and in an administrative research section. In her final role, Travis was a homicide unit commander, a position she said she held for eleven years.

Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva released a statement saying that the news broke her heart and that the entire LASD family grieves her loss.

Contributing to The Associated Press

This article first appeared on USA TODAY: An ex-Los Angeles Sheriff's Sergeant, aged 87, was found dead in a freezer