Studio City Senior Lead Officer Mike Lewis, from the North Hollywood Division of the Los Angeles Police Department, just reported about 9 p.m. Monday night to Studio City Patch:
"I just recovered the stolen Honda Odyssey that was taken from Ventura and Whitsett with the yellow Lab inside. The vehicle was parked at Studio City Golf and Tennis and unfortunately, the dog was found deceased inside. I just got off the phone with the owner and when I told him the horrible news he was devastated. It was a tough phone call."
The 10-year-old yellow Labrador was taken when a car was stolen from in front of Kriser's pet store in Studio City on Saturday. There was an intensive doghunt all weekend, not for the car, for the dog.
The local family is devastated. Their minivan was stolen Saturday near Whitsett Avenue and Ventura Boulevard.
Nayo Mateo said his 2-year-old daughter, Lucy, has been asking what happened to her best friend, the yellow labrador that they have had since she was a puppy.
“Maru’s a family member,” Mutt Match L.A.‘s Sheilah Aragon said.
It is unclear how Maru died, at 9:15 p.m. Animal Control was removing the dog from the car less than half a mile away at the golf course.
Lewis said the dog was found on the driver's side of the car near the floorboards.
Lewis added, "It appears like it may have passed away—all the windows were rolled up—possibly died of heat. Not sure as of yet."
Local volunteers from Mutt Match helped search for the dog: http://www.muttmatchla.org
Lt. Todd Hankel of the Los Angeles Police Department's North Hollywood Station said someone tipped off that the vehicle was at the 4100 block of Whitsett Avenue at 5 p.m. Monday, and Maru was found dead inside.
When the car was stolen, Maru was asleep in the back seat of the minivan, which had its engine running and air conditioning on.
"We're holding the vehicle for prints,'' Hankel said. "We'll try to ID the suspect that way if we can find any.''
Anyone with information about the minivan theft was urged to contact the North Hollywood Station at (818) 623-4016.
The family was worried that they will never get to snuggle with their cuddly bear of a dog ever again.
Their worst fears came true.
Also see: Family Dog Taken in Studio City Car Theft in front of Kriser's—Please Help!
In yet another animal cruelty case:
Police Seek Suspect who Left Dog for Dead in Alley—Did You See Anything?