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Woman Found Slain in Condo

Ex-movie production company executive may have died as long ago as Thursday. Searchers scour Laguna Niguel hillside for a weapon.

June 29, 2004|Mai Tran and Susan Anasagasti | Times Staff Writers

A 72-year-old woman was found dead inside her Laguna Niguel condominium, and officials said Monday that she may have been killed as long ago as Thursday.

Jane Thompson's bloody body was found inside her home on Vista Niguel, said Jim Amormino, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Thompson, a retired executive at a movie production company, was discovered Sunday afternoon, face-down on a couch in the living room, he said.

Her body was found after a friend grew concerned when Thompson failed to show up for an engagement.

When deputies arrived at her home, they found the back door ajar.

Amormino said investigators are looking into the possibility that Thompson was killed by a robber. He said there was no sign of a struggle but would not say how Thompson was killed or what kind of weapon was used.

Dozens of deputies fanned out Monday along a landscaped hillside near Thompson's home to search for clues.

"There is a huge crime scene area because the suspect could have escaped through the back sliding glass door," Amormino said. "Investigators are combing through the greenbelt area looking for a weapon."

By late Monday, no weapon had been found, he said.

Thompson had lived alone in the three-bedroom home in the hillside community for seven years and had no relatives, officials said. She was last seen Thursday, they said.

Residents said there had been burglaries in the area recently. Amormino said a suspect had been identified in one of those incidents but was not linked to Thompson's death.

Neighbors, however, said Thompson had had jewelry and a flashlight taken in a burglary a week ago. But she never reported it, Amormino said.

"We are looking to see whether or not there is a connection" between that burglary and her death, he said.

Thompson was described by neighbors as a quiet person who kept to herself and who was often seen reading a book outside.

Seniors at the Sea Country Senior and Community Center said they couldn't remember the last time police had any reason to be in the area.

"I call it God's country. It's a nice area," said Carlo Matero, 87. "It's very surprising and unusual for our area."

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