PALMDALE (CBSLA.com) — Officials released the identity of a man Wednesday whose body was found within a minivan buried in mud from last week’s debris flow in Palmdale.
According to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, Robert Michael Rasmussen, 49, of Palmdale, has been identified as the victim.READ MORE: Jokic Has 49, Triple-Double As Nuggets Edge Clippers In OT
“He was a happy guy,” said the victim’s brother, Ross Driscoll. “A loving guy who was always going out of his way for everybody else. He always put people before himself.”
Deputies said Rasmussen had relatives living in the area.
The vehicle was discovered around 12:50 p.m. on Tuesday while maintenance workers used a backhoe to clear out mud and debris located in the 41800 block of Karen Drive, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported.
It took authorities 11 hours to lift the minivan up from the ground, which was buried within six feet of mud.READ MORE: Lakers Blow Halftime Lead In Loss To Pacers
On Thursday, powerful rainstorms sent a river of mud flowing down a mountain in the area.
Witnesses like Bruce Horwood reported seeing the Chevy Venture being swept away.
“It was coming straight up the road and then all of a sudden the water hit,” explained Horwood. “It just went over the car and then turned it sideways. Then the van just went straight in.”
The cause of Rasmussen’s death has not been released.MORE NEWS: Grandmother Carrying Infant Allegedly Assaulted By Unhoused Woman In Venice
Meanwhile, in response to significant storm damage, the City and County has declared a local state of emergency.