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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Girl Was Playing When She Fell Off Cliff, Father Says

November 10, 2000

PALOS VERDES PENINSULA — The father of a young girl who fell 140 feet to her death from a cliff on the Palos Verdes Peninsula told police he and his daughter were playing when she slipped off the edge of the rocky bluff, authorities said Thursday.

Los Angeles County sheriff's homicide Det. L. Daniel Rosenberg said Cameron Brown, 39, told detectives that he and his daughter were standing on the cliff's edge and pitching stones into the water below when she slipped and fell.

Brown told authorities he did not have time to grab 4-year-old Lauren Key-Marer.

Brown said he used the cellular telephone of a passerby to call 911. Police found the girl lying on the rocks near the water below.

Detectives said Brown, who was described as distraught during questioning, is not considered a crime suspect. However, they did not rule out further interviews.

"Although we got a statement from the father . . . we're going to do everything in our power to ensure that this investigation comes to an accurate conclusion in a proper manner," Rosenberg said. "Ideally, we'd like to locate any witnesses who might have seen Lauren and her father out hiking."

On Thursday, detectives traversed the narrow trail leading to Inspiration Point near Portuguese Bend, where the incident occurred. They said they were surprised that a parent would take a child to such a dangerous place.

"I would be very nervous to take my children there," Rosenberg said.

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