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LA County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) homicide detectives and investigators with the LA County Department of Medical Examiner/Coroner continue to investigate the suspicious death of a Malibu security guard.

The guard, who was pronounced dead shortly after emergency personnel arrived on scene at Trancas Canyon Nursery last Tuesday morning, has been identified as Inge Baumbach, aged 58.

Shortly after dawn last Tuesday, March 29, calls began to come in to the LA County Sheriff’s Department regarding a security guard who was found unresponsive in the back parking lot of the upscale shopping center, located between Broad Beach and Zuma Beach in far northern Malibu. 

LASD Homicide Lieutenant Vincent Ursini, speaking to the Daily Press on Monday, April 4, said the death was still classified as “suspicious” and not a confirmed homicide.

There was also no sign of a weapon, Ursini said. 

“At this point, we don’t know one way or another whether or not there was [a weapon],” Ursini said, adding there was “nothing recovered at the scene indicating there was a weapon.” Ursini said detectives were open to the possibility the death may have been “an accident, and caused by a fall,” but the investigation was still in its early stages.

KBUU News, a local Malibu news radio station, reported Baumbach’s “head and upper body had significant body trauma. There was a lot of blood, and the victim’s flashlight sat in the blood near his feet.”

According to the KBUU News report, LASD said the shopping center did not have security footage available to review. However, nearby homes and a gas station did have security cameras.

“We’re canvassing the area for any video that may have captured the incident or any witnesses that may have seen or have some sort of information,” Ursini told KBUU the day of the death. “But we are in the early stages and we’re processing the crime scene. “The early indications are there hasn’t been any weapon recovered.”

The following Monday, Ursini said, “there were some cameras in the area; detectives are reviewing footage.”

Baumbach, whose longtime friend spoke to CBS News shortly after his death, was born in Sweden and had even served in the Swedish Army, according to his friend quoted in the CBS report.

A LinkedIn profile for Baumbach detailed his many years working in security, beginning as a security officer for Warner Bros. Studios in 2011. Work information also indicated he had spent time as a security officer for ADT and Securitas.

Baumbach wrote on the page that his objective was to one day open a small restaurant and bar in Hawaii.

Baumbach’s death is not officially classified as a homicide, pending further investigation; officially, it is classified as a “suspicious death.” Homicides in Malibu are rare. In calendar year 2021, LASD Malibu/Lost Hills Station reported one homicide; in 2020, there were no homicides reported within Malibu city limits, according to reports made available to the Malibu Public Safety Commission.

Sarah Ardalani, public information officer for the Coroner’s Department, said the coroner was continuing an investigation. An autopsy was performed on March 31 with the cause of death deferred.

“Investigations may be simple, involving a few phone calls to verify an expected death from a known terminal condition; or they may be complex, involving a thorough death scene investigation, property protection, and multiple interviews,” information from the department stated. “They may also include an autopsy, identification procedures, and location and notification of next-of-kin.”

Anyone with information about the suspicious death was encouraged to contact the LASD Homicide Bureau at 323.890.5500.

Anonymous tips can be reported to LASD “Crime Stoppers” at 800.222.8477, via the P3 Tips smartphone app or by using the website lacrimestoppers.org.

*Editor’s note: An online fundraiser for the family of Inge Baumbach was created on the crowdsource website GoFundMe.

emily@smdp.com