15 Sep 2014
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Lake Elsinore Travel Inn Death Ruled Drowning

Police say Nicole Lambert Cruz's cause of death was drowning, but there is no word on how it happened.

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The investigation into a Murrieta woman who was found dead in the swimming pool on Thanksgiving continues, but authorities are releasing few details.

Today, Cpl. Courtney Donowho, spokeswoman with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, said "the cause of death is drowning, but there is no further information available at this time.”

It is unclear how Lambert Cruz drowned and who found her; motel staff are referring reporters calls to police.

According to the deceased's mother, Lambert Cruz was living with her grandfather in Murrieta when she went missing November 19. “She left for a walk and never came back,” said Donna Lambert.

Details from the autopsy and toxicology reports have not been made available.

The Lambert family had been in the media spotlight prior to Thanksgiving for their staunch support of the medical marijuana movement.

Donna Lambert’s elderly father Don, who Nicole lived with, had been a fixture at Murrieta City Hall where he regularly advocated on behalf of medical marijuana patients. Don took up the cause after his daughter Donna was arrested in 2009 for marijuana possession in San Diego County.

Her case garnered significant media attention. She was accused of providing cannabis to an undercover police detective who posed as a medical marijuana patient. The sting was part of a larger investigation dubbed Operation Green Rx spearheaded by San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

In 2010, however, felony charges against Donna Lambert were dismissed.

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