LANCASTER, Calif. – A Los Angeles County deputy probation officer was beaten to death inside her Lancaster residence over the weekend. The killer is believed to be a homeless man who smashed his way into her house, according to reports.
The Los Angeles County Probation Department announced Monday the death of Deputy Probation Officer II, Paula Lind. The “devoted staff member” who served the department for 16 years was a “home invasion victim” who suffered “fatal injuries” on Sunday, according to a press release from the agency.
Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department homicide Lt. Michael Gomez said that Lind’s suspected killer is a homeless man believed to have gained entry into her residence by shattering a sliding door, the Los Angeles Times reported.
LASD deputies responded about 12:05 a.m. on Sunday to the 45500 block of Barrymore Ave. in Lancaster regarding a burglary/home invasion call, according to a press statement from the Sheriff’s Department.
“When deputies arrived, they found the victim, a Black female, 50-55 years of age, unresponsive and suffering from blunt head trauma. The victim was subsequently pronounced dead at the scene,” the release said. “A male who was discovered in the house has been currently detained. There is no additional information available at this time.”
The Los Angeles County Probation Department also confirmed on Monday that “authorities have one person in custody, and an investigation is underway.”
The murder sent shockwaves throughout the Probation Department. The suspect, a man found inside her home, is described as “transient, homeless, with no connection to the victim,” FOX 11 Los Angeles reported, citing sheriff’s officials.
Lind was assigned to Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar. A law enforcement official with knowledge of the case told the Los Angeles Times that she just returned home from work when the homicide occurred.
The Probation Department’s Honor Guard and Special Enforcement Operations team assisted in transferring DPO II Lind to the Coroner’s Office, the agency noted, according to Fox News Digital.
“Our hearts are heavy today. Our Officers work daily to help folks start over and rebuild their lives; their work helps keep communities safe,” Chief Probation Officer Adolfo Gonzales said in a statement. “It is horrifying to hear that one of our beloved Officers passed in this manner. I am hopeful that the individual responsible for this attack will be held accountable and that justice will prevail. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Lind family, loved ones, and friends.”
The Los Angeles County Probation Officers Union also released a statement saying they are “deeply saddened” after Lind was killed “at her residence.”
“As the apparent victim of a homicide, her remains was [sic] discovered by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies responding to a burglary call,” according to AFSCME Local 685. “As the investigation by LASD is pending, we pray that those responsible for her untimely passing be brought to justice swiftly.”
“As the family wishes to mourn in private, please join us in sending our heartfelt condolences with thoughts and prayers during this difficult tragic time,” the union added.
Anyone with information on the crime is urged to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500 or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.