Body Found at Scholl Canyon Identified

Photo by Mike LEUM The car of a missing Rancho Palos Verdes man was found in Scholl Canyon.


The Los Angeles County Coroner’s office has confirmed the body found by searchers on Monday near Scholl Canyon was that of missing Rancho Palos Verdes man Yoshiya Watanabe, according to Lt. Joe Bale, L.A. Coroner’s office.

Members of the Glendale police department and Los Angeles Search and Rescue units discovered the body of the 57-year-old man near his vehicle.

Watanabe was reported missing by his son. He was last seen at 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 3.  The man suffered from seizures, hypertension and impaired memory.

On Sunday Glendale police received a call from a hiker who reported seeing a vehicle that appeared to be stuck in the sand near Scholl Canyon landfill wasteshed, said Sgt. Tom Lorenz, Glendale Police Department spokesman.

Lorenz said Watanabe’s family had no idea why he would be in the area. The remote area is near the 1600 block of Glenoaks Drive in Glendale. The road dead ends not far from Scholl Canyon landfill.

Glendale police with help from dog units and air support searched through Sunday into the evening and resumed early Monday morning.

Mike Leum, reserve chief for County of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and a member of Montrose Search and Rescue, was watching the morning news.

“I saw a report on [Glendale police searching] so I had our department coordinator call Glendale police to offer our services,” Leum said.

Leum and L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Martin, from the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station, met with the Glendale luetinent in charge of the search.

Members of L.A. County’s Sheriff’s  Malibu, Sierra Madre and Montrose Search and Rescue along with horseback units joined in the search.

“Our first real clue was when Sierra Madre found the [missing man’s] wallet on the dirt road [not far from his vehicle],” Leum said.

Wantanabe’s body was found at noon on Monday under a bush at the bottom of a hill, which may explain why those searching from the air may not have seen him.

“The body was found a short distance from the vehicle,” said Lorenz.

“The cause of death is deferred pending [a toxicology report results],” said Lt. Cheryl MacWillie.

Glendale Police handling the investigation but do not suspect foul play.

“This is a tragic situation,” said Lorenz. “The family is crushed.”