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Body Found Where Diver Went Missing

A spokeswoman for Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said the body has not been identified. It is not known if it is that of missing diver Rebecca Weiss.

Update: , a representative from the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner confirms.

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A body has been found in the same general area where free diver Rebecca Weiss has been missing for a week, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Saturday.

It was not immediately known if the body is that of Weiss, whose disappearance was reported Aug. 11. No one else has been reported missing at that location, said Lt. Holly Francisco of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's homicide division.

"We'll conduct a thorough investigation, and we will find out the cause of death," Francisco said. She also said that investigators were treating the disappearance and discovery of the body as two separate investigations for the time being.

She said it is also not known if the body is that of a man or a woman. Recreational divers spotted the body off Rancho Palos Verdes. Francisco said the body had on diving gear, though she did not know if that included weights.

The body was transported out of the water by the Los Angeles fire department and is in the hands of the coroner's office, which will make an identification, she said.

The sheriff’s department closed off access to the beach once the body was discovered, and divers swept the area for additional evidence.

Earlier in the day, about two dozen volunteers armed with 1,000 fliers began sweeping through the area where Rebecca Weiss was believed to have gone diving before she disappeared.

“We want to find a person that saw her,” said Weiss’ brother, Roberto Causey. Causey is a sergeant with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The volunteers passing out fliers near the resort stopped once the body was found.

Alan Weiss, the Marina del Rey woman's husband, told authorities he last saw her the morning of Aug. 11 when she left to go diving near the .

He told authorities that he went looking for his wife at their normal diving spot near the resort and found her car parked in a public access lot and her bag on the beach.

A witness told deputies Saturday that he saw a dive bag sitting on a towel near the beach on the day Weiss disappeared.

“I noticed that bag there, like all day,” said Daniel, who declined to give Patch his last name and who often kayaks in the area where Weiss disappeared. “It was there a lot longer than the typical dive would last.”

Involvement of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau in the search spurred speculation that the disappearance had turned into a possible murder case; however, Francisco said the disappearance remained classified as a missing persons occurrence. 

Investigators have no reason to disbelieve the account given by the missing woman's husband and have no person of interest in the case, the lieutenant said.

Detectives interviewed the husband on Wednesday as part of normal police procedure. 

Francisco would not discuss why the homicide division is involved in the case and declined to answer questions about any surveillance video that may be available from the resort.

At a Saturday news conference, Rebecca Weiss' family again pleaded for anyone who may have seen her to step forward.

Her mother, Vilma Causey of Kingsburg, Calif., told reporters that she checked out the area where Weiss was diving—an area right below the busy resort.

"She is a very avid diver,” said her mother, Vilma Causey of Kingsburg, Calif. “But we don't know…we don't know, nobody saw her.”

Weiss often dove off the Palos Verdes Peninsula, telling Causey that she liked the location because the water was cleaner than it was in Marina del Rey.

Emil, a family friend in Torrance who declined to give his last name, described Weiss as a polite, respectful woman.

“We miss her,” he said. “She’s a really loveable person. She’s friendly.”

Weiss grew up on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and graduated from Palos Verdes High. She moved to Marina del Rey after she married Alan Weiss.

Rebecca Weiss’ sister-in-law, Rina Causey, called Weiss “an incredible human being” with a “good heart” who was always “full of life.” She described Weiss as a world traveler who went to Costa Rica to open a school for orphans and flew to India for other philanthropic causes.

 “She wanted to explore the world,” said Causey.

Whether in India, Costa Rica or Antarctica, Weiss made a point to call home and tell her family where she was, Causey said. “This is not like her to put her life in danger.”

Causey also said Weiss was a very experienced diver.

“She loves the water,” Causey said. “No matter where she goes, she needs the water.”

Vilma Causey said the outpouring of support for her family has been “amazing,” noting that television stations in the Fresno area had even picked up the story.

"We are deeply touched … we are just simply overwhelmed by the tremendous help and support," Roberto Causey told reporters.

Anyone who may have seen Weiss diving on Aug. 11 should contact the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

apmarina August 18, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Why was this sent as "breakng" news? Its been on the news for days. I hope they find her alive, but there's nothing new here.
kim August 18, 2012 at 06:10 PM
I think the "breaking news" is this: Los Angeles sheriffs say they have no reason not to believe Rebecca Weiss' husband
Mgbarnette August 18, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Body was found over an hour ago

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