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July 18
2009 - Two killed in crash of experimental plane in Sand Canyon [video]


Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Scientific Services Bureau, Forensic Identification Specialist Michelle Acevedo and her partners, routinely go above and beyond the call of duty. On one particular day, Michelle’s supervisor received a request from our Homicide Bureau to photograph human remains found 600 feet down a cliff off of Angeles Crest Highway.

This request could only be accomplished by rappelling down the side of the cliff with an array of gear and supplies.

Since she was trained to rappel by the Sheriff’s Department Montrose Search and Rescue Team (MSAR Team), she “jumped” at the chance to rappel 600-900 feet off the side of a cliff. The next morning, Michelle gathered her gear (camera, sketch pad, measuring tape, paper bags, etc.) and rappelled over 600 feet through difficult terrain with high temperatures. She said she really wasn’t scared because, “The team that trained us is awesome at what they do, and the training they give us is the best. Although it can be a little dangerous, they make you feel confident, and to [learn to] trust the harness that is securing you.”

So how did Michelle end up here? The initial call came to Crescenta Valley Station of a possible motorcyclist over the side of Angeles Crest Highway on August 4, 2017. The location was approximately 32 miles into the Angeles National Forest from La Canada Flintridge. Montrose Search and Rescue personnel were initially called to the scene to locate and rescue the motorcyclist, however, they discovered human remains instead. The on-scene Coroner Investigator requested photographs of the scene and the human remains.

When processing a crime scene, she has to document the scene thoroughly. This involves photographing, marking, re-photographing, measuring and then collecting the evidence. Michelle had to improvise a little since the mountain was steep, and she was working with several people on the same rope line (i.e. the coroner’s Special Operations Response Team and MSAR personnel). She basically had one chance to get it right, and wanted to be meticulous in her documentation. It took longer than expected, approximately eight hours.

At the end of the exhausting day, Michelle said this was her first rappelling incident, and she would do it all over again. She loves getting out of the office and going outdoors. It was physically challenging, but practice makes better. Without Forensic Identification Specialist like Michelle Acevedo, we would not be able to present evidence in court and put suspects away in prison.

Michelle Acevedo started her career with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as a Custody Assistant at the Inmate Reception Center. Once she got her foot in the door, she finished college and got a degree. With her degree in hand, she applied to work in our crime lab and began her formal training in 2008. Michelle completed training at the crime lab in 2010. The training consisted of two and a half years in the area of latent print analysis and crime scene investigation. Since then, she has responded to dozens of major crimes scenes and completed hundreds of fingerprint comparisons.

The remains have since been identified by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office and Department of Justice as that of Mr. Makoto Ofuji, a 57 year-old resident of Los Angeles. Based on the Homicide detective’s investigation, his death was the result of an unreported motorcycle accident on the Angeles Crest Highway sometime around July 4, 2017.

When I asked Michelle what was the most rewarding part of her job, she stated, “Knowing that I can help bring closure to a victim’s family is immeasurable. By doing my job properly, meticulously, and with great pride, I can assist in finding clues, be that in crime scenes or in fingerprint comparisons, that assist in the grand scheme of the case. I would highly recommend this job to anyone who has a love for forensics and who enjoys working hard! It is very challenging and rewarding, but unlike what you see on TV, it involves long hours and being on-call. It is still the greatest job in the world!”

Portrait of Michelle Acevedo

Thank you to Lieutenant Hiroshi Yokoyama for sharing Michelle’s awesome story.

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LOS ANGELES COUNTY HEADLINES
Tuesday, Jul 17, 2018
Supervisor Kathryn Barger cast the lone vote opposing a motion to place a measure on the November ballot which seeks to increase property taxes on residential and commercial properties to generate approximately $300 million a year to fund additional stormwater projects.
Tuesday, Jul 17, 2018
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to move forward with a comprehensive plan to increase local water supply and improve water quality.
Tuesday, Jul 17, 2018
The county of Los Angeles and community partners are working hand-in-hand to combat homelessness, which has decreased for the first time in four years.
Monday, Jul 16, 2018
The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District confirmed West Nile virus in a sample of mosquitoes collected from Panorama City (zip code 91402), the first confirmation of WNV activity in the district’s service area this year.
Friday, Jul 13, 2018
Los Angeles County voters may soon be asked to vote on a new "parcel" tax to be levied on private property owners' "impenetrable areas" -- everything from rooftops to driveways -- to help pay for the capture of recyclable stormwater runoff.

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Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
2009 - Two killed in crash of experimental plane in Sand Canyon [video]
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce is holding a Business After Hours Mixer at Valencia Acura, Wednesday, July 18, at 5:30 p.m.
July 18: SCV Chamber’s Business After Hours Mixer
Supervisor Kathryn Barger cast the lone vote opposing a motion to place a measure on the November ballot which seeks to increase property taxes on residential and commercial properties to generate approximately $300 million a year to fund additional stormwater projects.
Barger Lone Vote on Proposed Stormwater Tax
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to move forward with a comprehensive plan to increase local water supply and improve water quality.
Supes Move Forward with Efforts to Improve Local Water Supply, Quality
The county of Los Angeles and community partners are working hand-in-hand to combat homelessness, which has decreased for the first time in four years.
County Combines New, Existing Programs to Combat Homelessness
Officials at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner have identified the body of a man who was found in a Canyon Country field Monday night.
Man Found Dead in Canyon Country
Single Mother's Outreach is currently accepting honoree nominations and artist applications through July 30.
Single Mother’s Outreach Accepting Nominees, Artist Applications
The Stay Green Inc. team has been rewarded for its excellence with eight awards — including four prestigious first-place honors — in the 59th Annual Landscape Beautification Awards presented by the San Fernando Valley Chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA).
Stay Green Earns Four First-Place Landscape Honors
Here is the list of Santa Clarita arts-related events for July 18-20:
July 18-20: Santa Clarita Arts Calendar
The city of Santa Clarita saw an increase in on-location filming in Fiscal Year 2017-2018 (July 2017 to June 2018), with the Film Office recording 560 film permits and 1377 film days, which generated an estimated $33.1 million in economic impact to the local community.
Santa Clarita Sees Increase in On-Location Filming for 5th Straight Year
Six Santa Clarita Artists Association members were accepted in the impressive La Galeria Gitana exhibit, "Around the World in 80 Paintings."
Aug. 11: Artists Association Presents, ‘Around the World in 80 Paintings’
LOS ANGELES – A former staffer for a member of the United States Congress was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for bribery and attempted extortion after demanding and accepting $5,000 to prevent the closure of a marijuana shop in the city of Compton.
Santa Clarita Man Gets 18 Months in Prison for Bribery, Attempted Extortion
1834 - Sinforosa, daughter of Narciso and Crisanta, born at Mission San Fernando; mom from Tejon, dad from Piru; believed to be last speaker of Tataviam language (died 1915) [record]
Berry Petroleum Corp., owner of the Placerita oil field west of Sierra Highway between Placerita Canyon Road and Golden Valley Road in Santa Clarita - and many other oil properties in the San Joaquin Valley - announced Monday that it has launched an initial public offering of its common stock.
Placerita Oil Field Owner Going Public Again
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting health care professionals and patients of a voluntary recall of several drug products containing the active ingredient Valsartan, used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.
Blood Pressure Medicine Valsartan Recalled for Cancer-Causing Impurity
The next regular meeting of the Governing Board of the William S. Hart Union High School District is Wednesday, July 18 at the Administrative Center, 21380 Centre Pointe Parkway, Santa Clarita 91350.
July 18: Hart District Governing Board Regular Meeting
The Canyon Country Advisory Committee, a division of the Santa Clarita City Council, will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, July 18, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
July 18: Canyon Country Advisory Committee Meeting
Since April, TMU grad Zach Klindworth has worked and trained with a soccer team in Iceland, 4,000 miles from Santa Clarita, the only city he'd ever known.
TMU Soccer Alum Zach Klindworth Takes Talents to Iceland
The Lancaster JetHawks scored a run in the seventh inning to take the lead and hung on to beat Lake Elsinore, 3-2, Sunday evening at The Hangar.
JetHawks Hang on for Sunday Win Over Storm
Lake Elsinore proved too much for the JetHawks Saturday night, handing Lancaster an 11-4 loss at The Hangar.
Lancaster JetHawks Overcome by Storm Saturday
The Lancaster JetHawks opened up a four-game series with a 6-2 win over the Lake Elsinore Storm in front of 4,348 at The Hangar Friday night to kick off Star Wars Weekend.
The Force With JetHawks in Friday Win Over Storm
Saxtravaganza, Santa Clarita's all-saxophone chamber ensemble, will play a free concert at Hart Hall (inside Hart Park) on Thursday, July 19, starting at 7 p.m.
July 19: Saxtravaganza Chamber Ensemble Returns to Hart Hall
Members of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley will participate in the semi-annual Pinewood Derby at the Newhall Clubhouse on Wednesday, July 18 starting at 4:30 p.m.
July 18: SCV Boys & Girls Club Pinewood Derby
The city of Santa Clarita's Community Preservation Division sent a notice of violation Monday to the owners of the Canyon View Mobile Home Estates property in Canyon Country, ordering the removal of multiple solar panels installed on the hillside just north of the park.
Canyon Country Mobile Home Park Cited for Hillside Solar Panels
Ingrid Moon, a sixth-grade science facilitator at tuition-free public charter school iLEAD Encino, and Kimberli Lengning, a facilitator at iLEAD Lancaster, have been named Distinguished STEM Educators by Columbia University.
iLEAD Science Facilitators Named Distinguished STEM Educators
The city of Santa Clarita has updated the list of productions shooting in the city and the Santa Clarita Valley the week of July 16-22, 2018.
‘Mayans,’ ‘Santa Clarita Diet,’ Spots, Student Films Now Shooting in SCV
The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District confirmed West Nile virus in a sample of mosquitoes collected from Panorama City (zip code 91402), the first confirmation of WNV activity in the district’s service area this year.
First West Nile Positive Mosquitoes Found – Panorama City
Air quality is very unhealthy for all residents of the Santa Clarita Valley Monday, according to an alert from the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
AQMD: Air Quality Very Unhealthy Monday for SCV Residents
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested a man with an outstanding warrant who was allegedly also in possession of drugs in Stevenson Ranch early Saturday morning.
Golden Valley High School grad U.S. Air Force Airman Victoria A. Arguello has graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.
Santa Clarita USAF Airman Victoria Arguello Completes Basic Training
1925 - Actor Harry Carey files patent on the original 160-acre Saugus homestead he'd purchased in 1916 (now Tesoro Del Valle) [story]
1891 - R.E. Nickel publishes area's first newspaper, The Acton Rooster [story]
Stay out of the water at Pyramid Lake in Los Angeles County until further notice and avoid eating fish from the lake due to the presence of blue-green algae.
Algae in Pyramid Lake at ‘Danger’ Level – Keep Out
1769 - Portolá party sets out from San Diego; first Europeans to "discover" Santa Clarita Valley 3½ weeks later [story]
The CTG Stars teenage summer workshop production of "Shrek: The Musical, Jr." takes the stage at the Canyon Theatre Guild in Old Town Newhall for two final performances on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
July 14-15: CTG Stars Teen Workshop Stages ‘Shrek: The Musical Jr.’
The William S. Hart Museum will host an open house and summer fun event for kids on Thursday, July 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
July 19: Open House, Summer Fun Event for Kids at Hart Museum