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Skeletal remains found in Ballona Wetlands during search for L.A. woman missing since December

Skeletal remains were found in a wetlands area after a months-long search for a missing Los Angeles woman.

Police haven’t identified the skeletal remains as those of the missing woman, 32-year-old Kolby Story, said Jader Chavez, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman. The Los Angeles County coroner’s office has removed the remains and is working to identify them.

Lt. David Smith with the L.A. County coroner said the investigation will involve looking at DNA samples and examining the remains to determine gender before giving an identification.

“We don’t have anything yet,” he said. “It’s going to take some time.”

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According to a Facebook post made by Story’s family members, Story was last seen in the early morning hours of Dec. 7, 2020, in the 123000 block of Pacific Avenue in Mar Vista. That night, she had been in Venice Beach and had called a friend to help find her keys. She left the beach at 2 a.m. and drove toward home, but never made it.

About 10:30 a.m. Friday, the LAPD said detectives were conducting a missing person follow-up investigation at 13700 block of Fiji Way, the location of the 600-acre Ballona Wetlands State Ecological Reserve. Later the same afternoon, a good Samaritan approached police in Venice and told them that he had found some of Story’s belongings, Chavez said.

KCBS News reported that the belongings included a driver’s license and checkbook, which the man reportedly found in a drainage tunnel near Ocean Front Walk.

Chavez could not confirm that this happened during a clearing of homeless encampments on the Venice Boardwalk, as various news outlets have reported. He said detectives were led to the Ballona Wetlands through their own investigation.

“That’s where they were in the investigation,” he said. “We knew that she was last seen in this area, that’s why we brought out the search here.”

LAPD detectives, members of the California Office of Emergency Management and K-9 search teams spent the afternoon looking for Story. Several of Story’s family members and friends helped in the search as well, police said.

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