Man Whose Body Was Found in SUV Buried in Mud Drowned: Coroner

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The man whose body was found Tuesday inside a car buried by last week’s mudslide in Palmdale drowned, coroner’s officials said.

Robert Michael Rasmussen is seen in a photo provided by the California DMV.

Robert Michael Rasmussen is seen in a photo provided by the California DMV.

Robert Michael Rasmussen’s death was ruled an accident, said Ed Winter, spokesman for the L.A. County coroner’s office.

Rasmussen, 49, of Palmdale, was found only after residents nudged authorities to look in a 12-foot-deep square hole, where they saw a vehicle disappear last Thursday during a record-breaking rainstorm that swept over the Antelope Valley and eastern Kern County.

The downpour triggered mudslides and flash floods that trapped hundreds of drivers, overwhelmed roads and prompted the closure of a 40-mile stretch of the 5 Freeway.

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