Phoning it in

This is a reader comment from earlier today. I posting it here for those who don’t read comments:

I have worked for the city of Pasadena for many years  helping the cities youth get clean from drugs, alcohol and gang life. With so much poverty, death, drugs and gangs in the North side of Pasadena (Above the 210 Fwy) why are you covering a bill for foil balloons? Who cares?

Why aren’t you investigating the constant gang and drug deaths and crime in Pasadena? Why aren’t you writing about the amazing discrepancy between the wealth of southern half of Pasadena (below the 210 Fwy) and the Northern half of Pasadena.

A drive down Orange Grove or Washington Blvds at night feels like your driving through skid row. I thought You were “The Crime Scene” not the foil balloon patrol.. Or have you given up the dream and drive you may have once had to provide information and assistance on crime in Pasadena?

‘casue the way I see it , it seems as though you’ve been phoning it in for quite some time. Sorry if that’s harsh but ist seems that you only report crime that “makes” the news and has already been announced.

Instead of going out there and getting the story and “making” the news. Email me if you want to know about the Mexican Mafia activity in Pasadena or why mothers are selling their children to grown men, or a story on why at least six children from our program ended up dead last year, why black and hispanic gangs were at war in Monrovia, how our youth programs in Pasadena are helping and failing the kids in Pasdena etc. etc. etc.

Tuesday’s column

From the notebook …

One of the unique features of the vast Los Angeles County bureaucracy can be found in the Department of Coroner.

Unlike most other California counties, the coroner is not elected and the head medical examiner doesnt report to the Sheriffs Department.

Back in the 1970s and 1980s when Dr. Thomas Noguchi headed the department, that separation sometimes caused local politicians and law enforcement tons of headaches. Noguchi, known as coroner to the stars, did press conferences, held public inquests, and sometimes made rulings that flew in the face of conventional wisdom.

Two, even three decades later, the memory of Noguchi looms large in many ways. Even if nothing (except the retro concrete buildings on North Mission) else is remotely the same.

Theres way more technology, said Ed Winter, a former Arcadia police officer who is now the Department of Coroners assistant chief of operations. You cant just make guesses anymore. Im not saying Noguchi guessed, but we have much more data and much more information now.

Even with all that technology, and all those new forms of information, medical examiners and investigators apparently have been unable to determine how Liya Jessie Lu died, according to prosecutors in the case.

Lu, 31, disappeared in August after being dropped off at her boyfriends home in San Gabriel. Police pleaded for help locating the woman. A couple of weeks later her body was found stuffed into a plastic trash can and covered with kitty litter.

Her boyfriend, Isaac Campbell, 32, became the object of a nationwide manhunt. He turned up hiding out in a low-budget motel on the outskirts of Minneapolis in mid-September. Campbell fought extradition to California and lost.

But, hes been able to stave off arraignment in the case because of the lack of a coroners report, officials said.

Last week, Superior Court Judge Carlos Uranga postponed arraignment in the case until May 6, primarily because of the lack of information.

On Monday, Winter said the coroners report and autopsy results for Lu remain on a security hold. He was unable to discuss the specifics of either. Case watchers will have to hold their collective breath another month to see where this one goes.

X X X

Hey readers, I want you to know that I analyze all the e-mails you send as well as cards and letters. Thanks to all of you for some timely tips; you guys are the eyes and ears of the Crime Scene Blog and column on the streets of the SGV and I really appreciate the input.

That said, I must apologize to several of you for my tardiness responding to e-mails. Guess that makes it about time for a New Years resolution.

Update from Nisha

Former Tribune reporter Nisha Gutierrez, who is now a TV reporter in tiny Pocatello, Idaho at KPVI- NBC News Channel 6, sends along an update on a case from this past summer:

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Just a quick heads ups -Jason Meyer will be sentenced here in Pocatello this afternoon. If you recall he is the guy who rear ended and killed the LA County Deputy and his wife last summer. I’ll be following the proceedings so let me know if you’d like to know what he gets.

Here’s a story on the case.