PASADENA — A Pasadena woman who was reported missing by her husband was found dead Saturday inside her car, which had crashed near the Rose Bowl, officials said.
Gretchen Leonard, 76, was driving her 2007 Lexus and following her husband, who was driving ahead of her, as they headed home to west Pasadena from a friend’s house in San Marino, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
As the couple was making their way through the east end of Pasadena, “he turned right, she turned left,” Clawson said.
The woman was not seen again Saturday, prompting her husband to report her missing, officials said.
Police issued a Silver Alert and asked the community to keep an eye our for Leonard beginning in the early morning hours Saturday.
The search continued when a passer-by noticed the woman’s Lexus resting against a tree at the base of an embankment in the 300 block of Mandord Way, just west of Glen Oaks Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. Vasken Gourdikian said. The crash scene was only several blocks from Leonard’s home.
The car was not visible from the roadway, Clawson added.
“She was found deceased in the vehicle,” Gourdikian said.
It was not clear Saturday whether she died as a result of the crash, or from another cause, such as a medical condition. That determination would be made by investigators from the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner.
It was not known whether Leonard had a history of dementia, though she had vanished in a similar episode in 2012.
“Almost a year ago to-date, in August of 2012, under similar circumstances, she was found disoriented in Tarzana,” Gourdikian said.
In a written statement, authorities expressed gratitude toward those who showed concern for Leonard as the search continued.
“The Pasadena Police Department wishes to thank the concerned members of the community who either phoned or emailed in response to the initial (missing) alert,” the statement said.
PHOTO of Gretchen Leonard courtesy of the Pasadena Police Department.