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Body found in wilderness verified as O.C. woman's

January 26, 2007|Garrett Therolf | Times Staff Writer

A badly decomposed body found in a Whittier canyon has been identified through fingerprints as that of Amber Lee Hill of Stanton, missing for more than two weeks, authorities said Thursday.

Hill's death is being investigated as a homicide, but authorities say they do not have any suspects or murder weapon.

The remains, found shortly after noon Thursday, were identified by the Orange County coroner's office, which is still conducting tests, Whittier police spokesman Jason Zuhlke said.

The body was found about 25 feet down a steep embankment in a wilderness area of Whittier shortly after authorities widened the search for Hill, 38. The body, clothed in a work uniform similar to Hill's, was partially wrapped in plastic shipping material.

She went missing Jan. 9 after her shift at the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Downey. Four days later, authorities found Hill's wallet, car registration and other belongings scattered along a hiking trail.

Hill's 2001 Dodge Stratus was found Tuesday in a La Palma parking lot. Police found dried blood and a pair of tennis shoes in the trunk.

A preliminary investigation into whether Hill's involvement in a sexual harassment case may have played a part in her death is "not looking like that is going to hold any weight," Zuhlke said.

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garrett.therolf@latimes.com

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