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News Release

Monday, October 1, 2001

Media Relations

Van Nuys Detectives Investigate a Body Found in the Trunk of a Vehicle -

"Van Nuys Detectives Investigate a Body Found in the Trunk of a Vehicle" - UPDATE


Van Nuys: On Tuesday, September 25, 2001 at approximately 9:00 am, Van Nuys Area patrol officers responded to the 14800 block of Camarillo Street at the request of Los Angeles Police Department, Missing Persons Detectives. Upon their arrival the officers were told that a foul smell was coming from the trunk of a vehicle belonging to a victim being investigated as a missing person. The Officers then telephoned Van Nuy's Homicide Detectives, who responded to the scene, opened the trunk and discovered the badly decomposed body of a black female. It appears that the victim had possibly met with foul play, but the immediate cause of death has not yet been determined. The victim has not yet been positively identified at this time. No motive for the possible murder has been established and no witnesses to the incident have been found.


On Tuesday, September 25, 2001, at approximately 9:00 a.m., Los Angeles Police Detectives were conducting a follow-up investigation at 14800 West Camarillo street, in Van Nuys Division due to a parking citation that was issued on Thursday, September 20, 2001 at about 9:06 a.m. The citation was issued to 1998 Honda Civic, California license plate number 4AXN364 which showed registered to Denise Fonda Dempsey, a 32 year old woman who had been reported missing on Wednesday, September 19, 2001 at approximately 11:30 a.m., from 2722 West 74th Street in Los Angeles. Upon their arrival, they noticed a "foul smell" coming from the trunk of the car where the body of a badly decomposed woman was discovered. It appears that the victim was killed somewhere other than the location discovered. A Coroner's Investigator responded and took control of the body, which was subsequently identified to be that of Denise Fonda Dempsey. Further Investigation revealed that the cause of death had been strangulation. The motive is unknown.

This investigation is being conducted by 77th Street Homicide Detectives Armando Bernal and Blair McCormack. Anyone with information concerning this incident is asked to call 213-485-1385 or Detective Headquarters Division at 213-485-2504 during off-hours.

This press update was prepared by Public Information Officer Eduardo Funes, Media Relations Section 213-485-3586.