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Missing diver's body found off Palos Verdes Peninsula

Experienced diver Rebecca Weiss was reported missing Aug. 11 after a planned dive at a favorite cove below Terranea Resort.

August 19, 2012|By Harriet Ryan, Los Angeles Times
  • Vilma Causey, right, hugs daughter-in-law Christina Causey along the rocks next to the Terranea Resort. Vilma Causey's daughter, Rebecca Weiss, an experienced diver, was reported missing Aug. 11.
Vilma Causey, right, hugs daughter-in-law Christina Causey along the… (Gary Friedman, Los Angeles…)

The body of an experienced 50-year-old free diver clad in a wet suit was pulled Saturday from waters off Palos Verdes Peninsula, near where she went missing a week earlier.

Authorities said Rebecca Weiss, of Marina del Rey, was found in a cove below the Terranea Resort. Coroner's investigator Elissa Fleak said her agency had not yet established a cause of death and that an autopsy would be conducted Sunday.

The body was discovered about 200 yards offshore in an area that was a favorite dive spot for Weiss and her husband. Alan Weiss went to a sheriff's station Aug. 11 and told deputies that his wife of 20 years had not returned home after a planned dive in the cove. He told investigators he had found her BMW in the resort parking lot and a bag containing her dive equipment by the shore.

Rebecca Weiss' mother and brother were near the resort passing out fliers when recreational divers found the body about 11:30 a.m. Vilma Causey wept and clutched a photo of her daughter as a search-and-rescue boat pulled the body from the water.

A diver involved in the recovery of the body later came ashore and had an emotional conversation with Causey before authorities escorted her away with her son, Bob, aLos Angeles County Sheriff's Departmentsergeant, and daughter-in-law.

Causey told KTLA last week that her son-in-law's behavior was "strange" and "not the reaction of a person that has somebody missing that is close to you." Alan Weiss, 60, has declined to comment.

He was not on the beach Saturday. Lt. Holly Francisco of the sheriff's homicide bureau said she did not know whether Alan Weiss was aware that a body had been found, but described him as "very cooperative" with investigators.

"He met with detectives and provided a whole statement of his last encounter with her," Francisco said.

She said the sheriff's homicide unit was assigned to the case because it involved a missing adult, and Weiss offered detectives an account consistent with his initial report to deputies.

Asked whether investigators shared the suspicions aired by Rebecca Weiss' family in the media, Francisco replied, "No."

She said the homicide unit's purview includes drownings as well as murders.

harriet.ryan@latimes.com

Times staff writers Rebecca Trounson and Richard Winton and photographer Gary Friedman contributed to this report.

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