CASTAIC – Authorities Monday were searching an area of the Chiquita Canyon Landfill in Castaic as part of an investigation into the disappearance and presumed death of a woman who was reported missing last month.
Heidi Planck, 39, was reported missing by her ex-husband on Oct. 20, and the case was turned over to the Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery- Homicide Division on Oct. 29, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
“Since that time, detectives have worked tirelessly to gather leads related to Planck’s disappearance,” police said in a statement.
Planck was last seen Oct. 17 at an apartment complex at 1201 S. Hope St. in the downtown Los Angeles area. Video captured her walking her dog in the area, and the dog was later found on an upper floor of the same building, police said. Planck’s ex-husband, Jim Wayne, told reporters Planck had attended her 10-year-old son’s football game earlier that day in Downey, but she left early and appeared “antsy.” Her ex-husband reported her missing after she failed to pick up her son from school on Oct. 20 in West Los Angeles, police said earlier.
“Forensic evidence was located inside the building which has led detectives to believe an incident occurred resulting in Planck’s death,” police said.
On Nov. 4, Planck’s 2017 Range Rover was discovered in the underground parking garage of a residential building several blocks away, according to the LAPD. The investigation led to the Chiquita Canyon Landfill, at 29201 Henry Mayo Drive in Castaic, police said.
“There is currently no suspect information,” police said.
On Monday morning, authorities served a search warrant at the landfill “to excavate a specific area of the landfill, manually search it for human remains and collect any related evidence,” police said.
“It is anticipated this search and recovery operation could take approximately seven to 10 days to complete,” police said. “There may be an impact on community members who live around the Chiquita Canyon Landfill, specifically the community of Val Verde. Efforts are being made to minimize and mitigate that impact. We ask for the community’s understanding and support during this search and recovery effort.”
Wayne had speculated to reporters earlier that the woman’s disappearance may be related to Planck’s work as financial controller of Camden Capital Partners, a company under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly bilking millions of dollars in pension funds. According to media reports, Camden Capital executive Jason Sugarman was seen at Planck’s home days before she disappeared.
Operators of the privately run Chiquita Canyon Landfill said they were working with investigators searching the facility for “evidence that may have been brought to the landfill for disposal.”
“Investigators are following specific health and safety protocols approved by state, local and regional regulatory agencies, and are implementing measures to reduce any potential impacts to the local community resulting from such investigation, including dust and odor mitigation,” according to landfill officials.
Involved in the operation were LAPD detectives, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office, the Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The LAPD is requesting help from the community. People with information on the case are urged to call the LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Division at 213-486-6840; 877-LAPD-247; or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.