Man found in buried car in Palmdale drowned, autopsy confirms

PALMDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- The man found dead in a car which was buried under six feet of mud in Palmdale died of drowning, an autopsy confirmed.

Robert Michael Rasmussen's body was found Tuesday afternoon in a minivan, buried in a culvert along the 41800 block of Karen Drive.

His vehicle, which was upside down and tilted sideways, was swamped by mud during last week's Antelope Valley storm. The minivan was spotted by a public works employee trying to clear the basin.

An autopsy determined that the 49-year-old died of drowning, and his death has been classified as an accident, said coroner's assistant chief Ed Winter.

Rasmussen's mother said her son was house-sitting for her when the storm hit. He was just two blocks away from her home when his vehicle was swept under the mud.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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