A photographer charged with murdering a model was linked Wednesday to the slaying of another woman whose remains were found in the same forest in 1993.
Investigators are also looking at other unsolved murders around the country for links to the photographer, Charles Rathbun.
Rathbun, 38, led investigators to the body of Linda Sobek in the Angeles National Forest on Nov. 24, two days after claiming he accidentally ran over the former Los Angeles Raiders cheerleader and buried her in a panic.
Another model, 20-year-old Kimberly Pandelios, was also dumped in the 1,000-square-mile forest, about five miles from Sobek’s makeshift grave. Her skeleton was found by a hiker in 1993, a year after she disappeared.
Rathbun “is a suspect in that case,” Sheriff Sherman Block said. “People have placed them together on at least two occasions in meeting situations. Whether she ever went with him for a photographic session or whatever, we have not established that yet.”
Block said the task force investigating the Sobek killing is also looking at slayings in other states.
“We’re sending some people out of state this week to look at some unresolved cases in areas where we know Rathbun has been and there are possibilities that he may have been involved in homicide cases in those areas,” the sheriff said.
“One in particular that we are looking at is a homicide in Ohio, close proximity to where Rathbun’s father lives and where Rathbun has visited.”
Sobek, 27, disappeared Nov. 16.
Preliminary autopsy results cast doubt on Rathbun’s claim that Sobek was run over by a car. The Sobek family was told the model was asphyxiated, but an official cause of death hasn’t been announced.
“There appear to be significant bruises to the body that would indicate force,” Block said.
In another development, the Sheriff’s Department disclosed that Rathbun told a reserve deputy hours before his arrest that he was involved in Sobek’s death, but the deputy - a friend of Rathbun’s - never alerted detectives.
Shannon Meyer, 37, who graduated from the academy in February, told investigators she didn’t believe Rathbun “because of his reputation of being a practical joker,” said Carrie Stuart, a department spokeswoman.
Meyer was suspended on Nov. 23, one day after Rathbun’s arrest.
Meyer said that Rathbun was suicidal, so she went to his Hollywood home.
“She went to attempt to stop him from carrying out his threat, and when she arrived she was slightly hurt in the arm when he tried suicide in the driveway,” Stuart said. “She told homicide detectives she didn’t tell them because the suicide threat was her main concern.”
The department’s Internal Affairs Division is investigating.
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