South Bay : Hermosa Beach Detective Taken Off Sobek Case

A veteran Hermosa Beach police officer has been taken off the investigation into the slaying of model Linda Sobek amid a departmental inquiry into whether the detective leaked sensitive details of the case to a local newspaper, it was learned Wednesday.

The detective, who was not identified, was relieved of his assignment Nov. 28, one day after the Daily Breeze, citing an unnamed source, reported various leads in the case.

Although some of the information was later discounted by authorities, officials said the leak threatened to compromise the investigation and angered other agencies, including the Los Angeles County district attorney's office and Sheriff's Department.

Explaining that his department learned about the leak from the district attorney's office, Hermosa Beach Police Capt. Michael Lavin said Wednesday that he launched an internal investigation and reassigned the detective to patrol. The reassignment, Lavin said, occurred several days before the detective, who has more than 10 years with the department, was scheduled to return to patrol on a normal rotation.

A decision on possible disciplinary action will be made by the Hermosa Beach police chief, who next week will receive the results of the internal investigation, Lavin said.

Sobek, 27, of Hermosa Beach was found slain in Angeles National Forest on Nov. 25, 10 days after telling friends she was going to a modeling assignment. Photographer Charles E. Rathbun, 38, of Hollywood has been charged with her killing.

Rathbun remains in custody on $1 million bail and has pleaded not guilty to killing Sobek.

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