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Body in shallow grave identified as former La Crescenta resident

July 28, 2011|By Megan O'Neil; megan.oneil@latimes.com

Homicide detectives continue to unravel the death of a former La Crescenta woman whose body was found July 15 in a shallow grave in San Bernardino County.

Christine Jo “CJ” Kunstmann, 44, was discovered partially buried in a remote area just north of the city of Beaumont. The cause of death remains under investigation, officials said.

“We have not received enough information from the coroner’s office yet to release the cause of death,” San Bernardino Sgt. Jim Cornell said.

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Kunstmann was raised in La Crescenta, but had recently been living in Rancho Cucamonga. She was last seen at an apartment complex in Banning, east of Beaumont, visiting friends, officials said.

Her father, who lives in Nevada, reported her missing to Nevada authorities in June, Cornell said, but she was not entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.

“She was in her 40s, single and renting a room, and it wasn’t uncommon for her to go from location to location and be gone for any length of time,” Cornell said.

Law enforcement was tipped off to the location of the body by an anonymous caller who said she happened upon it while jogging, Cornell said.

The spot where Kunstmann was found is a local landmark of sorts, known for a large oak tree that shelters the remnants of an old stone house.

“It was a field near an oak tree which is commonly used by local teenagers to hang out and party on the weekends,” Cornell said.

Kunstmann was single and living on disability, he added.

“We are following up multiple leads that we have at the moment,” Cornell said. “We are interviewing people in the neighborhood and require the assistance from the public with any information they might have.”

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