Woman found dead in freezer was an ex-L.A. County sheriff’s detective

A house with a car in the driveway
A woman was detained after the body of her 87-year-old mother was found Sunday in a freezer at her Riverside home.

An 87-year-old woman found dead in a freezer in the garage of her Riverside home was a retired homicide detective with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, authorities said Tuesday.

Miriam E. Travis retired as a detective sergeant in 1990 after 27 years with the department, including 11 years in the Homicide Bureau.

“Our hearts are broken by this news and the entire LASD family mourns her loss,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a statement.


No arrests have been made since the body was discovered Sunday after a relative asked police to check on the woman, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported.

Travis’ daughter, who was a caregiver to her mother, gave inconsistent statements about her mother’s whereabouts, said Officer Javier Cabrera of the Riverside Police Department.

Officers searched the house, which Cabrera described as disheveled and showing signs of hoarding. There was a foul odor. Officers discovered the body in a functioning freezer in the garage.

An autopsy was planned to determine the cause of death.

Travis’ husband died in 1992, after which she changed the locks on the house and cut off contact with her extended family, according to a relative, Kerri Nickell of Oklahoma.

“It was like, this is my grandmother one day, and then we never heard from her again,” Nickell told the Press-Enterprise. She described Travis and her daughter as “kind of hermits.”

Cedric Valentin, 63, a landscaper who claimed to know Travis, said he last saw her alive four months ago.