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Coroner identifies man found in Castaic ravine

October 4, 2011 | 11:18 am

 A car that was driven by Marvin Gelfand is recovered after plunging 200 feet off a remote mountain 
The Los Angeles County coroner's office has identified the man found dead in a car at the bottom of a ravine near Castaic as Melvin Gelfand.

Gelfand, 88, from Los Angeles, was reported missing Sept. 14 when he didn’t come home from a day trip to a San Diego casino. He apparently missed a turn and crashed down a ravine off Lake Hughes Road, officials said.

The coroner’s office listed his death as accidental due to multiple blunt trauma.

The whereabouts of Gelfand, a retired liquor store owner, were unknown for days. His family had reported him missing and hired a private detective.

Then, nine days later, a car occupied by David La Vau, 67, crashed down the same ravine. La Vau stayed next to Gelfand’s car and corpse for six days, surviving on bugs and creek water.

He was discovered last week by his children, searching the area around Lake Hughes.

Gelfand's body was discovered at the same time, but identifying his remains took several days.


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Photo: A car that was driven by Melvin Gelfand is recovered Friday after plunging 200 feet off a remote mountain. Credit: Gus Ruelas / Associated Press