Top FBI Agent in L.A. Placed on Leave

Times Staff Writers

The head of the FBI’s criminal division in Los Angeles has been placed on administrative leave pending a reassignment to the bureau’s headquarters, law enforcement sources said Wednesday.

The transfer of veteran FBI Special Agent in Charge Jim Sheehan comes amid an internal investigation into the recent suicide of a longtime agent, Wendy Woskoff, with whom Sheehan had been romantically involved until several months ago, sources said.

Woskoff, 54, died of a self-inflicted gunshot Jan. 23 at her Santa Monica home. A 24-year veteran of the FBI, Woskoff was most recently assigned to an intelligence squad in the Los Angeles division.


Sources said Woskoff left two notes at the scene of her suicide. One was addressed to her immediate supervisor. The other made reference to her relationship with Sheehan.

Because the agent used her FBI-issued weapon in the suicide, sources added, the FBI -- as is customary -- launched an internal investigation with agents from Los Angeles and bureau headquarters. Five days after the shooting, the FBI also placed a security hold on the coroner’s report in the case.

Sheehan, who is single, didn’t supervise Woskoff, who was separated from her husband, and their relationship apparently did not violate FBI regulations. But several FBI sources said that bureau officials concluded that it was in the best interest of the office to transfer Sheehan.

“There are a lot of problems in the L.A. office ... and a lot of personnel issues,” said one FBI source who spoke on condition of anonymity. “And this shooting unleashed everything in the way of rumors.”

Sheehan could not be reached for comment.

Woskoff’s mother, Helene, had little comment Wednesday about her daughter’s death. “This was a tragedy. She was a beautiful, brilliant young woman. And right now I really don’t want to talk about it,” she said.

Services for Woskoff will be held today.

Times staff writer Scott Glover contributed to this report.