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Homicide detectives to interview husband of missing diver

Police say the case of a diver reported missing Saturday off Rancho Palos Verdes is still considered a missing person or possible death case.

August 16, 2012|By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times
  • A dive team searches the waters off Rancho Palos Verdes on Aug. 13 for Rebecca Weiss, 50. She was reported missing by her husband after she did not return from a dive trip.
A dive team searches the waters off Rancho Palos Verdes on Aug. 13 for Rebecca… (Chuck Bennett / Daily Breeze )

After a fourth day of searching failed to produce the body of a missing diver, Los Angeles County sheriff's homicide detectives said they are now investigating her disappearance and plan to interview her husband.

Rebecca Weiss, 50, was reported missing Saturday by her husband after she did not return from diving in a cove near the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes. Alan Weiss told authorities she went alone to the cove to free dive. They are both experienced divers.

When she didn't return, Alan Weiss went to look for her and found her car in the parking lot and her dive bag where she entered the water, authorities said.

Dive teams have searched for four days in the kelp, cove and surrounding area. The case has been shifted from the missing person's detail to a team of homicide investigators. Several law enforcement sources said suspicious circumstances surrounding the case warrant the involvement of veteran homicide detectives.

Reached by telephone Wednesday, Alan Weiss, 60, declined to answer questions about his wife's disappearance until he talks to detectives later today.

Sheriff's Lt. Holly Francisco said Weiss is cooperating with investigators. Although homicide detectives are investigating, it is still considered a missing person or possible death case.

Francisco said it is unclear whether anyone else was with Weiss on Saturday at the beach.

"We are unsure at this point," she said.

Alan Weiss told deputies he last saw his wife driving away from their Marina del Rey home in her BMW X5 wearing a wetsuit, Francisco said.

He told authorities the spot near the resort was one of the couple's favorite snorkeling spots. Free diving without breathing apparatus is considered dangerous alone, but Alan Weiss told authorities his wife often did it without a dive buddy. They have been married for 20 years.

Ben Wolfe, a retired Los Angeles County fire captain and lifeguard and a veteran free diver, said the sport is inherently dangerous and can have deadly consequences because divers often push their limits by holding their breath.

"There is really a great deal of danger," he said.

Weights used in free diving could also keep the body from surfacing, Wolfe said.

Anyone with information should call the Sheriff's Department homicide bureau at (323) 890-5500.

richard.winton@latimes.com

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