GORMAN – The woman found dead last week in some brush near state Route 138 has been identified, sheriff’s officials said.
Authorities are now asking for the public’s help in locating two suspects wanted for questioning in connection with the woman’s death and for the kidnapping of her three young children.
Around 5 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 14, the woman’s body was spotted by a motorist traveling along Gorman Post Road, north of State Route 138, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported. She apparently had suffered “head trauma,” authorities said.
Authorities held a news conference last week to ask the public to help identify the woman, and she was later identified as Kimberly Harvill, according to the sheriff’s department.
At a news conference Wednesday morning, sheriff’s homicide Lt. Joe Mendoza said the identification of the victim led detectives to conduct interviews in Fresno — where Harvill lived — and in Lebec.
“During that investigation, in the following days, we also learned that the victim was the mother of three children,” Mendoza said. “Our investigators continued … trying to inquire about the whereabouts of these children and who they were with.”
Detectives formed the opinion that Harvill’s sister, 22-year-old Brittany Humphrey, and her friend, 27-year-old Joshua Robertson were involved, Mendoza said.
“We believe that the sister, Brittany Humphrey, and (her) acquaintance Joshua Robertson were with them, and we believe that they took the children some time either before the murder or after the murder,” Mendoza said.
Detectives believe the suspects fled with the children toward Arizona or New Mexico, Mendoza said. The suspects may also have family in Nebraska, and have some ties to Kansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, Mendoza said.
The pair is wanted for kidnapping Harvill’s children — Joslynn Watkins, 2; Brayden Watkins, 3; and Rylee Watkins, 5 — and a warrant has been issued for their arrest, according to authorities. Robertson and Humphrey are also wanted for questioning in Harvill’s death, detectives said. Investigators have yet to disclose a motive.
Robertson and Humphrey are believed to be traveling with the children in Harvill’s green 1999 Ford Expedition, which may bear California license plate number 7BEK024, or paper plates, authorities said. The children have been listed in law enforcement databases as missing persons at risk.
Robertson has a criminal history, is on post-release community supervision, and has a previous arrest for possession of a firearm, authorities said. He should be considered armed and dangerous and the public is advised to not approach the suspects if they are spotted but to notify law enforcement.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. To provide information anonymously, call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477) or access the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.
UPDATE: The three missing children were found safe in a motel on the outskirts of Albuquerque, New Mexico, according to an update by the Sheriff’s Information Bureau. The suspects left the children in the care of a Good Samaritan who in turn notified local law enforcement. The two suspects are still on the run. Read the sheriff’s update at: http://local.nixle.com/alert/5710470/.
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