Coroner Releases Autopsy Results on Linda SobekMICHAEL FLEEMAN , Associated Press
Dec. 11, 1995 7:11 PM ET
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Model Linda Sobek was legally drunk and sexually assaulted before her death by asphyxiation, an autopsy report confirmed Monday.
``The mode of death is ruled as homicide,'' said a statement from the Los Angeles County medical examiner's office.
Tests revealed that Sobek's blood alcohol level was .13 percent, over the .08 percent level to be considered legally drunk while driving.
The autopsy found that Sobek was ``sexually assaulted prior to her death,'' the statement said. Coroner spokesman Scott Carrier refused to elaborate.
``I don't know the nature of the sexual assault,'' he told reporters. He would not discuss why authorities portrayed it as an assault rather than consentual sex.
Sobek, 27, left her Hermosa Beach apartment on Nov. 16 for a free-lance modeling assignment and never returned. Photographer Charles Rathbun led authorities to her body in the Angeles National Forest on Nov. 24.
Her body, clad in shorts and a top, was exhumed from a shallow grave near a rocky ravine in the remote San Gabriel Mountains, 25 miles north of Los Angeles.
Rathbun, 38, has pleaded innocent to murder and is being held on $1 million bail. He twice tried to commit suicide, once shortly before his arrest and again while in jail.
The autopsy confirmed reports that Sobek died due to asphyxiation as a result of pressure on the neck and body.
``It's consistent with somebody sitting on somebody or somebody laying on somebody,'' Carrier said.
Sobek had no broken bones, according to the report.
The actual autopsy report has been sealed by authorities. Only the limited details contained in the statement were released to the public.
A noted automotive photographer, Rathbun claims he accidentally killed Sobek while demonstrating high speed car maneuvers during a photo shoot for AutoWeek on a dry lake bed. Rathbun said he panicked and buried her body.
But authorities said they were skeptical of Rathbun's story.
AutoWeek officials noted, for instance, that the magazine doesn't use models and that the assignment with Rathbun called for taking pictures of the Lexus sports utility vehicle in a rural setting.
Sobek, a former cheerleader for the Los Angeles Raiders, modeled for calendars and fitness videos.