Southern California Sheriff Glenn Randall listened carefully to the voice on his cellular phone. “Bring it in,” he said finally. Then he turned to his assistant, Marco Rodriguez-Henderson, and said, “Again?”
As part of the going search for Glee actress Naya Rivera, Sheriff Randall and his team have been scouring Lake Piru with sonar, dredges, and the hands of able divers. They encountered an unexpected problem: masses of bodies, none of which are Rivera.
“I went in thinking, sure, we’ll go out there and trawl around for a week and find her,” said Randall. “What I didn’t count on was finding everyone else too. We’re up to 167 bodies, not counting skeletal remains, and this is after less than forty-eight hours of searching.”
Pathologists descended in droves to identify the bodies with dental records, DNA, and missing persons files, but had barely made a dent. “We identified fourteen so far,” said Ventura County Medical Examiner Hermione Wang-Aguilar. “Several missing realtors, a few PIs, half a dozen spouses reported missing, and a couple guys who apparently just didn’t pay their debts on time.”
Southern California has long led the nation in unreported and reported disappearances because “people just like to go on spirit quests or to find themselves,” according to Sheriff Randall. “You know, it’s California, man. Some guy who works an office job, no parking tickets, never late, just ups and bails out and we find him in a yurt six months later talking about Vishnu and wearing a dress,” he said. “It’s just not unusual here.”
Wang-Aguilar said that the condition of the bodies was the only anomalous factor. “With over half a million people dropping out to discover real life every year, Southern California has no shortage of anonymous corpses,” she said. “What makes Lake Piru special is that all of these are from within the last couple weeks.”
An AP search for records involving Lake Piru indicated that, unlike most other California lakes, it was rarely searched for bodies. The DMN news team beat a hasty retreat after heading back to the parking lot to see three random guys unloading something about six feet long and 200 pounds wrapped in carpet from a trunk.
“Watchu looking at, holmes?” said one. “Get your ass back to suburbia if you know what’s good for you.”