malibu homicide detectives
Area residents woke up to more startling news last Wednesday when major media outlets dispatched helicopters to broadcast live aerial footage of skeletal remains found on a hiking trail at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains.

Lost Hills Sheriffs Department arrived at the scene after a CalTrans worker discovered the remains off trail at the Juan Bautista de Anza Trailhead at the end of Calabasas Rd. September 5th.

This has been a scary summer for Malibu Canyon residents and the general public who frequent the area, as a series of serious crimes have been committed, bringing to light an even more serious public safety issue. And it appears that law enforcement knows a lot more than they are telling us.

aerial shot malibu hills murder scene

Aerial footage of officers on scene pointing to the area where skeletal remains were found off trail at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains on September 5th.
The murder of Tristan Beaudette at Malibu Creek State Park was a wake up call for the community surrounding the park, as well as the discovery of multiple victims who came forth after hearing of Beaudette's murder, exposing a cover-up of multiple shooting incidents dating back to 2016.

Since then, additional violent crimes have occurred in the area, including two body dumps that appear to be gang affiliated hits, multiple missing persons cases, and more...

And now the skeletal remains found September 5th. Another case investigators are - supposedly - working on in this high profile area.

Why do I say "supposedly"?

Keep reading.

Piling Up

The Lost Hills Sheriff Department has been very busy as the bodies appear to be piling up lately.

Since May, the skeletal remains (found last Wednesday) are considered to be the fifth body found (contrary to other local reports), in four months, and two people (that we know of) are still missing. Matthew Weaver Jr., 21 who disappeared August 10th on Stunt and Schueren Rd., and Elaine Park who vanished over a year and a half ago in the same area.

And the lack of communication in all of these cases, along with the attempt to cover up, brings back another very high profile case, Mitrice Richardson.

Mitrice disappeared 9 years ago and was missing for 11 months. Her body was found under very suspicious circumstances.

The case remains unsolved.

Reynaldo Cruz, 52, was found dead in May, in his underwear, by a resident in a ditch behind the Hindu Temple on Las Virgenes Road. The cause of death, apparently by various signs of torture, reported to have the distinct markings of an MS 13 execution style gang hit.

Tristan Beaudette's body was found on June 22nd at Malibu Creek State Park. Beaudette died by gunshot wound to the head, in his tent, while laying next to his two young daughters.

The decomposed body of Roger Chavez Barahona, a 19 year old latino male, was found near Fire Camp 8 on July 19. Coroner reports state that Barahona died as a result of gunshot wounds, not related to Malibu Canyon shootings, however, does appear to be gang affiliated.

Jose Martinez went missing on August 17th and was the fourth body found, in his vehicle, that apparently went off the embankment on Kanan Rd. The vehicle was found on August 22nd.

And now, the skeletal remains, found last week off the trailhead at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains.

Questions Remain(s)

The latest "body", technically human remains, were discovered by a CalTrans worker at approximately 9:30 a.m., according to a CalTrans official, crews were "... performing routine fire prevention brush clearing ... on CalTrans right of way along the south side of US-101 (Ventura Freeway) in Calabasas, a CalTrans roadway maintenance worker discovered human remains near a trailhead... A CalTrans maintenance supervisor immediately contacted our communications center to request the dispatch of California Highway Patrol to the scene. To maximize safety to the driving public, and our road crew and to minimize negative impact to traffic flow, the CalTrans crew accessed the freeway slope from the cul de sac on Calabasas Rd. instead of parking vehicles on the freeway shoulder," said Marc Bischoff, Public Information Officer.

Calabasas road map
Bischoff, who provided the map above, also added that "CalTrans crews were in this area about a month ago but they do not normally use the local road to access the slope".

The trail is in the City limits of Calabasas and maintained by Santa Monica Mountains Mountains Conservancy. We talked to hikers in the area who told us that this trail is not one of the more popular trails, which means less people, less visibility, perhaps the perfect spot to commit a crime if you were so inclined.

After taking a walk down the trail with co-founder of The Local, Steve Woods, to investigate the area, we turned down a path off trail with lush vegetation, which appeared to be the same area where deputies were pointing to in aerial footage from CBS at the crime scene last week (and in the screen shot above). While it is entirely possible someone could have wandered in there and dropped dead of natural causes, it is also entirely possible that someone did not, hence the impressive response by law enforcement (and the coroner's) at the scene.

malibu coroner vans

Not one, but two coroner vans, plus an official coroner representative showed up at the crime scene on Wednesday, September 5th, which members of the press thought was unusual for skeletal remains of one person.
The Art of Communication is Leadership

Within hours of arriving on scene, law enforcement notified the families of missing persons that they were "99% sure" the skeletal remains were not that of Matthew Weaver Jr., who went missing last month, or of Elaine Park who went missing in January of 2017. Officials offered up details to the next of kin of these families, continuing to search for their loved ones, informing them the remains were that of a male, and that there was apparently identification found next to the remains. Officials also communicated to the families that they believed the remains were associated with "an older case" Lost Hills was working on - and believe it or not - all of this information was apparently available at the scene.

So why was most of the media reporting a completely different story?

Because, Lt. Rodney Moore, head of the Homicide Division for LASD was summoned out to the scene to give an official statement to the media. Lt. Moore said on camera, to members of the press at the crime scene that he (along with two other homicide investigators) were "uanble to determine a cause of death or any identifying features", and that they were "processing the area as if it was a crime scene".

When asked if Lt. Moore had any idea whether the remains were male or female, Lt. Moore answered: "No, it's just bones...". Lt. Moore was also asked how long the remains were in the area, he answered: "They have been here for a significant amount of time". When pressed further, Lt. Moore said "right now I don't want to put a time frame on it, I'll let the coroner determine that."

However, according to local newspaper The Acorn, Calabasas City manager Gary Lysik shockingly seemed more informed than homicide investigators - and most certainly more the press at the crime scene.

Lysik got on his soap box divulging very sensitive information he was apparently privy to via Captain Josh Thai of the Lost Hills Sheriff's Department, to The Acorn - and get this - it completely contradicts what Lt. Moore told the rest of the world watching the news on all the major stations, regarding the investigation of the skeletal remains.

Interesting, right?

malibu murders quote

Lysik’s quote to The Acorn in their September 7th article on the remains found on the hiking trail at the end of Calabasas Rd.
In fact, in the screen shot of the article (above), City Manager Lysik went as far as to imply LHSD's job was basically done there, confidently stating there was "absolutely no evidence of any wrong doing..." , and "They're not calling this a homicide" - which is completely the opposite statement Lt. Moore made at the press conference.

If I were a betting girl, my money would be on Sheriff Jim McDonnell, who probably won't be too happy that one of his personnel, Captain Josh Thai (according to Lysik) released confidential information, which is a big no-no according to this this inner department communication circulated last May. Did Captain Thai not get the memo?

LASD flyer

*SPECIAL MESSAGE* – Apparently Captain Thai missed the memo distributed on May 29th, 2018.
Back to the press conference on September 5th.

Was Lt. Moore lying to the media? Or was Captain Thai lying to City manager Lysik? Or a little of both?

Because, this crime scene sure had the makings of a high profile case given the the response by law enforcement and you don't drag the head of the homicide division for LASD from downtown to a press conference in Calabasas for "absolutely no evidence of wrongdoing..."

...or do you?

Were we witness to another dog and pony show like the Public Safety Meeting at King Gillette Ranch last month? A bunch of "pomp" with no "circumstance"?

Is LASD wasting resources dispatching multiple homicide investigators and requesting an excessive response (in terms of personnel) from an already overloaded Medical Examiner's office?

Because, based on Lysik's quotes to The Acorn via Captain Thai of LHSD, it sure sounds like it.

Did LHSD start a new investigation procedure at crime scenes we're not aware of? Because, as Lysik implies in his quotes, it looks like LHSD closed the books on this case lightening fast. And it sure seemed like there was a lot of evidence to process.

Evidence collected by not one, but two vans from the LA County Coroner's office along with an official vehicle - which is more than the average response for skeletal remains for one body, especially if authorities were "not calling this a homicide" (according to Lysik), as myself and other members of the press discussed at the scene.

I personally called the coroner's office the day after the remains were found and spoke to a less than cordial watch commander. When I asked if the skeletal remains were male or female she answered: "How would we know that? We only got them yesterday, it will take weeks to find that out."

So if The Acorn is reporting the Coroner's made an official statement to them that the skeletal remains were "no more than 6 months old", did the Coroner's office magically get caught up on their backlog of 180 bodies dating back to 2016, or were they just winging it?

And if there is "no evidence of wrongdoing" and investigators are not "calling this a homicide" per Lysik (via Capt. Thai), why is the Coroner's office pushing this case ahead of other high profile, unsolved, homicides and making statements to The Acorn and not other media outlets?

Something really stinks here and it's not the smell of formaldehyde.

Bad Intel, Bad Reporting or Covering Up the Bad?

Given what we know now, it is starting to become apparent that deception is the name of the game when it comes to bringing the facts to light, especially in these cases. There also seems to be many entities complicit in disseminating misleading information.

But why?

The Acorn Newspaper headquartered in the Valley, (not far from Lost Hills SD station) has been repeatedly reporting false information regarding these recent crimes (even tagging Lost Hills Sheriffs Department in their tweets!) without responding to or updating the information on social media and their website, leading to not only confusing the public, they are in some cases, outright leading readers down the wrong path.

Could this be an intentional act to cover up for state agencies, bad intel gathering, or just plain bad reporting?

Initial reports of the skeletal remains were reported on The Acorn's social media as being in Malibu.