Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Undetected death occurred in a largely vacant office

Rebecca_wells Los Angeles County officials released additional details Friday regarding the worker who died last week in a cubicle in a Downey office building but went undetected for a day.

The death of Rebecca Wells, 51, caused many people to ask how someone could die on the job with no one noticing.

Officials said Friday that the death occurred after hours in a largely unoccupied area of a building at 9150 Imperial Highway in Downey. County officials said Wells normally worked in East Los Angeles but went to the Downey location Feb. 11 to conduct audit work, bringing paperwork and a laptop computer with her.

"Ms. Wells used a vacant cubicle on the second floor, in a row of unoccupied cubicles," the statement said. "This building contains a large number of cubicles, but no other employees were working directly in or around this row." 

A fellow auditor for the Internal Services Department was the last colleague known to have contact with Wells. The two ended a meeting about 5 p.m., at which point Wells said she planned to work until 6:30 p.m., according to the county's statement. Wells also phoned a family member shortly after 6 p.m. to say she planned to work until 6:30 p.m.

She was found by a security guard the next day slumped over at her desk after a family member called the security office to say that Wells was missing. Wells had no pulse when she was discovered, county officials said.

Fire Department officials called to the building pronounced her dead at the scene. The cause of death is still unknown.


Judge reduces bail for Bell councilman

Arrest made in fatal shooting resulting from argument over Mexican states

Camp Pendleton Marine returns to brig for 2006 killing of Iraqi

-- Garrett Therolf

Photo: Rebecca Wells.

Credit: KTLA-TV Channel 5

Comments () | Archives (8)

This is so sad. To die alone like that, what a tragedy. My condolences to the family and friends.

I agree. Very sad. My sympathies as well.

You can blame the sensationlist headline by KTLA implying that there were hordes of fellow workers hovering around a "sleeping" body and that no one bothered to do anything because, afterall, everybody else sleeps..." and which got the Fox News/anti-government loons to chime in about "lazy government employees."

The sad fact is that this woman was working past her normal hours to get her job done. But the damage to her reputation, as well as solidifying the false perception of lazy civil service employees has already been done.

My prayers to her family. It does make more sense with this additional information, but it's tragic nonetheless.

It is possible she did not die from natural causes.

This happened somewhere else in the US I recall about a month ago, people are so oblivious to the world around them these days.

What kind of place is this that they let people work til they drop and never check up on overtime employees?

My condolences to the family.

Shame. it sounds like a possibility of an aneurysm.

My heart truly goes out to the family.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: