Los Angeles County deputy found dead in forest committed suicide

Authorities said Tuesday that the death of a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputy whose body was found in the Cleveland National Forest after a massive search last week has been ruled a suicide.

An autopsy performed on Zoltan Richard Tombol, 42, of Yorba Linda, showed that he died of a shotgun wound to the head, said Lt. Scot Collins of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department coroner’s bureau.

Collins said a 12-gauge shotgun and a cell phone were discovered near Tombol’s body, which was found Oct. 20 on a hillside near the 91 freeway and Green River Road in Corona. His body was discovered by a search-and-rescue team walking through the area.

Collins said a suicide note was not found.

The search began after Tombol’s wife filed a missing-person report the evening of Oct. 18 with the Brea Police Department after he failed to pick up his son from a cousin’s house. His wife last saw him at about 6:30 a.m. that day, said Brea Lt. Darrin Devereux.

Corona police found Tombol’s Ford F-150 pickup parked at the end of a fire-access road a couple of hours after the missing-person report was filed. There were no signs of foul play, said Brea Sgt. Bill Smyser said.

Tombol was an avid hiker and cross country runner who was initially believed to have gone on a hike, Smyser said.

Tombol was a 19-year Sheriff’s Department veteran who had worked in the training division since 2005. He was also a veteran of the U.S. Army‘s 82nd Airborne division, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Steve Whitmore.

Whitmore said Tombol is survived by his wife, who is a sergeant with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and a 14-year-old son.


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