Investigator searching for missing girl dies in Georgia car accident
LOS ANGELES (AP) – A veteran private detective who was searching for a missing Southern California girl died in a car accident while investigating the case in Georgia.
Ted Woolsey, 60, died late Wednesday when his rental car struck a concrete divider and flipped over, officials said. During a lengthy career, Woolsey worked on some of the city’s most notorious crimes.
Over the past ten years, Woolsey earned the respect of criminal defense attorneys for his work on cases that seemed like lost causes. His caseload included 28 murder trials, with 16 of them death penalty cases. He worked for lawyers representing Lyle Menendez in the Menendez brothers trial; Jeremy Strohmeyer in the Nevada casino killing of a young girl and Glendale Fire Capt. John Orr, who was charged with four arson deaths.
The former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy was engaged in an all-out search for Ariane Miyasaki, who disappeared 15 months ago at age 13.
Ariane’s father, Ken Miyasaki, a dentistry professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, has alleged the Culver City Police Department botched their investigation of the case and failed to interview two key witnesses to his daughter’s Jan. 5, 1999, disappearance.
Woolsey was in Georgia last week searching for Jesse James Williams, 26, an ex-felon who was last seen with Ariane and the 14-year-old girl with whom she disappeared.
Williams, who is also known as ”Jester,” was extradited to Los Angeles in the fall after he violated parole in Seattle. Culver City police, however, did not interrogate Williams before he was released by a judge and disappeared.
Culver City police have denied any mishandling of the case.
Woolsey learned that Williams told a probation department worker he planned on returning to his family in Georgia.
Woolsey lost control of his car on the Bobby Jones Expressway and died from head injuries suffered in the crash, said Richmond County Coroner Leroy Sims.
”I’m in shock,” said a stunned Ken Miyasaki when he learned of Woolsey’s death. ”If the police had done their job, he would not have had to be back there.”
Woolsey is survived by his wife, Stacy, and his 9-year-old son, Baily. Services were set for Monday at Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena.