Body Found in Alhambra Identified as Missing San Gabriel Woman With Dementia

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Authorities investigate the circumstances the death of a woman who was found near Almansor Park in Alhambra on Jan. 17, 2020. (Credit: KTLA)

Authorities investigate the circumstances the death of a woman who was found near Almansor Park in Alhambra on Jan. 17, 2020. (Credit: KTLA)

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Coroner's officials on Saturday identified a woman whose body was discovered in a drainage ditch near an Alhambra golf course Friday afternoon as a 71-year-old woman with "severe dementia" and other medical problems who went missing from her San Gabriel home earlier this week.

Shu Lan Chao was reported missing after her daughter noticed she was not at home about 7 a.m. Wednesday, according to the San Gabriel Police Department. She was last seen at the home the previous night.

Chao had no cell phone or wallet with her when she disappeared, police said in a written statement.

Officials described Chao as having "memory loss due to severe dementia," difficulty walking and other medical problems.

Witnesses called authorities about 12:20 p.m. Friday after spotting a woman lying motionless on an embankment along a drainage ditch adjacent to the Alhambra Golf Course in the 600 block of Almansor street. She was described as partially clothed.

Paramedics pronounced the woman dead at the scene.

Chao's cause of death remained unclear Saturday, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner officials said. An autopsy was scheduled on Sunday.

The case is being investigated as a "suspicious death" by detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau.

Anyone with information was urged to contact homicide detectives as 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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