Body Found in Car Trunk May Be of Missing Burbank Woman

A decomposed body of a woman, believed to be that of a St. Joseph Medical Center employee missing for more than a week, has been discovered in the trunk of her car, parked about a mile from her home in Burbank.

The woman, Laurie Anne Chavira, 48, a hospital switchboard operator, was reported missing Aug. 24, police Lt. Duane Dow said. Her car was found by police parked at the intersection of Frederic Street and Empire Avenue shortly after noon Tuesday.

Coroner’s spokesman Bill Gold said that, although police believe the body is that of Chavira, additional tests will be conducted to make a positive identification.

Dow said the case is being handled as a homicide.


Chavira was last reported seen alive when she left work about 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 22 and stopped at a nearby grocery store before returning to her home in the 2000 block of Clybourn Avenue, Dow said.

Her husband, who works a night shift for a security firm, returned home about 6:30 a.m. the next day but waited 24 hours before reporting her missing because he mistakenly believed the law required such a delay before police would take a missing person’s report, Dow said.

There was no sign of a forced entry or struggle in the home and nothing appeared to have been taken, Dow said. Frozen food purchased at the store had been placed in the freezer but other items were left on a table, he said.