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Police dive into La Brea Tar Pits in cold-case evidence hunt

A law enforcement task force investigating a cold case murder sent a diver into the dark muck of the La Brea Tar Pits on Thursday looking for evidence, Los Angeles police officials said.

LAPD Lt. Andrew Neiman would not discuss details of the case and wouldn’t say exactly what authorities were searching for, other than that it involved investigators from a joint task force.

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“They requested the assistance of our dive team to search for an item of evidence related to an ongoing homicide investigation,” Neiman said.

The La Brea Tar Pits are a group of pits where tar has seeped up from the ground for tens of thousands of years. Animals were trapped in the tar, and their bones were preserved over the centuries.

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The department was notified around 8 a.m. and it was not known exactly how long police officials would be out at the scene.

Sources familiar with the investigation said it involved a joint unit of the LAPD Criminal Gang Homicide Unit and the FBI investigating a cold case. But Neiman declined to comment.

In addition to LAPD divers, the Los Angeles City Fire Department was on hand to assist if anyone got stuck.

“It’s horrible in there,” Neiman said. “There’s a diver in the water in a full dry suit which is completely enclosed. He’s covered with tar. It’s a mess.”

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Twitter: @anblanx |Facebook | Google +

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com


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