Bones Check For Link To San Francisco Disappearances
WEST POINT, Calif. (AP) _ Investigators who pulled the bones of two adults and a child from secret graves are examining the skeletal remains for links to eight missing people and a survivalist who committed suicide in police custody.
The bones were found near a house in rural Calaveras County, about 150 miles east of San Francisco. Authorities said Friday the house was used by Leonard Lake, a federal fugitive and self-styled survivalist who swallowed a suicide pill on Thursday, four days after his arrest.
″There are piles of bones everywhere ... sitting with just a little dirt on them,″ said Calaveras County Deputy Sheriff Robert Mortimer.
It was unclear how many bodies were scattered around the three-acre tract, said Calaveras County Coroner Terry Parker. The cause of death was unknown and investigators would have to use dental charts to identify the dead, he added.
″We have nothing to go on, as they’re very small bits of remains, but skeletal remains,″ Parker said. ″There may be eight bodies there, maybe more. We’re really just at the beginning of this thing.″
Calaveras County Sheriff Claud Ballard said the case seems to be connected to the disappearance last year of a car salesman and a free-lance video cameraman, his wife and their child.
Printer and video producer Harvey Dubs, 29, his wife, Deborah, 33, and their 16-month-old son, Sean, vanished on July 25, while auto dealer Paul Cosner, 39, has not been seen since Nov. 2. The missing people lived in San Francisco.
Deputy San Francisco police Chief Joseph Lordan said both Cosner and Dubs placed newspaper ads to sell items before they disappeared.
In addition to the Dubses and Cosner, Calaveras County sheriff’s deputies said four other people are missing from a house adjacent to the property where the bones were discovered. Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron McFall refused Friday to name the missing family.
″We don’t know if we have a single mass-murder or some kind of cult or what,″ San Francisco police Chief Con Murphy said on Friday. ″We don’t know how far it will go.″
Lake, arrested for driving Cosner’s stolen car, swallowed poison while writing a statement to police, investigators said. He was declared dead at 1:11 p.m. Thursday. Contents of the police statement were not disclosed.
Mortimer, who believes the property might belong to Lake’s father-in-law, said the skeletons of the two adults were lying in a telephone cable trench, while the other bones had been burned and were scattered nearby.
Police also found evidence linking Lake with the missing Dubs family. A piece of videotape equipment believed to have been taken from the Dubs home was found at the ranch house, investigators said.
Lake was arrested after he interceded in an argument between a friend and lumber workers.
The friend, identified by South San Francisco police as ex-convict Charles Chatt Ng, 24, fled before police arrived, investigators said.
Police said Ng fit the description of a man seen taking belongings from the Dubs home and using Deborah Dubs’ credit card after the couple disappeared.
In 1982, Lake and Ng were arrested together in Mendocino County by sheriff’s deputies and federal agents.
Ng was wanted then in Hawaii as one of four people who had stolen $10,000 in machine guns from a Marine air station. He was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in the military stockade and was released last June 29.
Lake was arrested in 1982 on federal weapons charges, but fled after being freed on a $50,000 bond, authorities said.