In a Los Angeles Superior Court Monday, during what was initially set as a preliminary hearing, accused murderer Christopher Michael McAmis, 32, pleaded guilty to killing Lynsie Ekelund in February 2001 and received a sentence of 15 years to life in prison.
He must also pay $2,000 restitution and give a DNA sample to law enforcement authorities.
Don’t miss a thing. Get breaking news alerts delivered right to your inbox
Ekelund’s body was found in 2010 on the grounds of LARC Ranch in Saugus. She disappeared in February 2001 after a night out with fellow Fullerton College students, including McAmis, who confessed to strangling her after she rebuffed his sexual advances when the two returned to his Whittier apartment.
Lynsie Ekelund was only 20 years old when she was killed.
For nine years, McAmis told investigators and reporters that he had dropped Ekelund off near her Placentia home in the early morning hours of Feb. 18, 2001. In the years since the murder, he continued working in construction and managed a video game website. He also married and had a daughter of his own.
After his arrest in 2010, he admitted to burying the young woman’s body at the residential ranch, where he and his father were working on a construction project
The hearing was the fourth for McAmis, who requested a new arraignment date in January, then entered a “not guilty” plea in March. He had been held without bail since October 29, 2010.
After reopening the cold case in 2008, detectives were able to take advantage of technology not available when the case was initially investigated. Forensic anthropologists studied the grounds at the ranch and scientists – and one Laborador with a uniquely trained sense of smell – were able to trace the plume of chemicals released by Ekelund’s decomposing skeleton. . Click here to read about the discovery of Ekelund’s body.
At a memorial ceremony in January 2011, Nancy Ekelund met some of the investigators for the first time. They credited her for having tenacity and never giving up on finding her daughter. Despite the bittersweet ending for family members, friends and investigators alike, it brought some closure to Ekelund. Click here for a story about the ceremony.