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Thread: San Diego Sheriff's Department Botches Murder Case

  1. #1
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    San Diego Sheriff's Department Botches Murder Case

    Hi All, I'm putting this article here because of our doubts about the SDCSD investigation of Rebecca's death and I thought this case was somewhat relevent due to their ability for blundering.

    San Diego Sheriff's Department Botches Murder Case

    SAN DIEGO — It’s been four months since the murder case against Russell Upton Jr., accused of killing his wife 16 years ago, ended in a hung jury and then a stunning dismissal by San Diego Superior Court Judge Kerry Wells.
    The reason: the failure of the Sheriff’s Department to investigate the case for nine years after the body of Marilane Abueg, 21, was found.
    Wells said there was "clear negligence" by sheriff’s detectives for failing to do even the most basic investigation when the crime occurred.
    "This case, unfortunately, tragically, I believe, fell through the cracks," Wells said, according to a court transcript. "It was forgotten or ignored for nine years."
    Benny Abueg, Marilane’s father, refuses to accept how the investigation into his daughter’s death was mishandled by detectives.
    "We were depending on them," he said.
    Few in law enforcement wanted to discuss the case. The lead detective, Genaro Moreno, has retired. Mark Pettine, the prosecutor who finally brought the case to trial after Upton’s arrest last year, also has retired and declined several requests to comment.
    Benny Abueg said he does not believe detectives pushed hard enough to solve his daughter’s killing.
    "Obviously, there were mistakes made in that case," sheriff’s homicide Lt. Larry Nesbit said last week.
    But Nesbit, who was not involved in the Abueg investigation, said the department has different procedures now to prevent similar errors in the future.


    <Modsnip>

    Read more at:


    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/oct/30/no-conviction-in-botched-case/?ap
    [/SIZE]
    Last edited by SoSueMe; 11-03-2011 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Copyright Infringement

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  3. #2
    Did not write a report and then "lost" his notes? No superior officer bothered to show any oversight, or did they "forget" too?

    There should be a federal investigation into the PD's in this area.

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  5. #3
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    Yes, they sure did, but now there's new improved procedures, and it could never happen again.

    Another local case I hope they get around to figuring out is the strange death of a wonderful bird vet
    Dr. Robert Stonebreaker on 1-16-10. The media and insurance companies have been allowed to imply things without ever coming to any investigative conclusions.

    http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/loca...-82188627.html

    [ame="http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=117021"]Robert Stonebreaker MURDERED 1-16-10 Can you help? - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community[/ame]

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    Quote Originally Posted by dovebar View Post
    Did not write a report and then "lost" his notes? No superior officer bothered to show any oversight, or did they "forget" too?

    There should be a federal investigation into the PD's in this area.
    I totally agree, dovebar.

    Being as the jury hung with no verdict and the judge just dismissed the case, it seems to me that it wouldn't be double jeopardy to bring the husband to trial again if there was new discovered evidence. Right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curious Me View Post
    Yes, they sure did, but now there's new improved procedures, and it could never happen again.

    Another local case I hope they get around to figuring out is the strange death of a wonderful bird vet
    Dr. Robert Stonebreaker on 1-16-10. The media and insurance companies have been allowed to imply things without ever coming to any investigative conclusions.

    http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/loca...-82188627.html

    Robert Stonebreaker MURDERED 1-16-10 Can you help? - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community
    Hi Curious, I read about this case and thought it strange that there was nothing further reported. It was just left 'hanging in the air'. I hope they do more to solve this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Callie View Post
    Hi Curious, I read about this case and thought it strange that there was nothing further reported. It was just left 'hanging in the air'. I hope they do more to solve this.
    Dr. Stonebreaker's death - Here's where it stood on September 27, 2011. The case will be two years old in January, and LE has no real clues or evidence, only that they need to talk to the wife.

    CBS with video:
    http://www.cbs8.com/story/15554543/w...type=printable

    http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...=117021&page=2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curious Me View Post
    Dr. Stonebreaker's death - Here's where it stood on September 27, 2011. The case will be two years old in January, and LE has no real clues or evidence, only that they need to talk to the wife.

    CBS with video:
    http://www.cbs8.com/story/15554543/w...type=printable

    http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...=117021&page=2
    Wow! Insurance company won't pay because cops have accused her of murdering him. I wonder how they think it was done? Maybe hired? Hmm, hope we get more news on this.

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    Just to clarify, LE has not accused Mrs. Stonebreaker of killing her husband. She is one of several parties who have not been ruled out. There's a big difference.

    This is a quote from Sgt. Frank of the San Diego County Sheriff's Office on September 27, 2011 in the Del Mar Times
    Frank said he is cautious about using the word “suspect,” but that Pamela Stonebreaker is “a person that we have not ruled out among others.”
    http://www.delmartimes.net/2011/09/2...picious-death/
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    Quote Originally Posted by bessie View Post
    Just to clarify, LE has not accused Mrs. Stonebreaker of killing her husband. She is one of several parties who have not been ruled out. There's a big difference.

    This is a quote from Sgt. Frank of the San Diego County Sheriff's Office on September 27, 2011 in the Del Mar Times

    http://www.delmartimes.net/2011/09/2...picious-death/
    Hi bessie, Thanks for the link and info. The other articles posted seemed to pointedly imply that the Mrs. was considered a very strong suspect. All in the manner of wording I suppose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Callie View Post
    Hi bessie, Thanks for the link and info. The other articles posted seemed to pointedly imply that the Mrs. was considered a very strong suspect. All in the manner of wording I suppose.
    RE: Dr. Stonebreaker's case
    It's exactly in the manner of wording. LE found nothing pointing to the Mrs., but has allowed the idea to perpetuate. It doesn't seem fair that a woman's reputation can be ruined in the process. The Sheriff's Dept. is making this family suffer by not reaching some kind of conclusion by now.

    JMO, it is hard to respect anything the Sheriff's Dept. says when I saw for myself in Rebecca's case how conclusive they can sound when, in fact, they didn't investigate enough and made those ironclad declarations.

    Note, Marilane Abueg's death went nine years with no answers.

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  21. #11
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    I have parrots and took them to Dr. Stonebreaker. I was so sad to hear of his homicide and it is very hard to believe anyone would want to kill him. It sounds like someone was chasing him and when he crashed the car someone caught up to him at that house and clonked him one. Very odd they can find no clues. His wife seemed nice enough. They had a successful business by all outward appearances. Why can't the LE figure out where Pamela was the night he died? She must have some alibi. Was someone home with her kids? They always leave us in the dark and then just drop the ball here in San Diego.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curious Me View Post
    Dr. Stonebreaker's death - Here's where it stood on September 27, 2011. The case will be two years old in January, and LE has no real clues or evidence, only that they need to talk to the wife.

    CBS with video:
    http://www.cbs8.com/story/15554543/w...type=printable

    http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...=117021&page=2
    Yes, they still are needing to talk to the wife of Dr. Stonebreaker. She needs to answer their questions and refuses to talk to them since just after the murder. It is odd they can not get her to answer their questions. It would be nice to have this murder solved. She wants her insurance money but still won't talk to sheriffs. Take the money and run, or walk?

  23. #13

    Was SDSO Impartial in Investigating Rebecca's Death

    SDSO has core values that it purports to abide by listed on their website. One of them is:

    "FAIRNESS We are just and impartial in all of our interactions. Our decisions are made without personal favoritism."

    That makes me wonder................ If Sheriff Gore has a personal relationship with any of the immediate families in these two deaths, should he have recused himself from the investigation?

    By personal relationship, I would include in that description having someone to their home as an example.
    All of my posts are simply thought-starters and are not meant to be implications in any way, shape or form.

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    Quote Originally Posted by justice be served View Post
    SDSO has core values that it purports to abide by listed on their website. One of them is:

    "FAIRNESS We are just and impartial in all of our interactions. Our decisions are made without personal favoritism."

    That makes me wonder................ If Sheriff Gore has a personal relationship with any of the immediate families in these two deaths, should he have recused himself from the investigation?

    By personal relationship, I would include in that description having someone to their home as an example.
    The Sheriff did not personally investigate either case. Nothing to recuse himself from.

    JMO

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  27. #15

    Why did Gore do the presser?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyBelle View Post
    The Sheriff did not personally investigate either case. Nothing to recuse himself from.

    JMO
    However, he was involved with the case. He did the presser and gave his opinion on the findings. There was a conflict of interest, imo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MyBelle View Post
    The Sheriff did not personally investigate either case. Nothing to recuse himself from.

    JMO


    Really?

    Everything that goes on in that dept. HE is responsible for. Everything. Little. Thing.

    The buck stops with him.

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    Now that I'm hearing about "audits", IMO, the feds should do one on SDSO's investigation regarding Rebecca's murder.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mittymick View Post


    Really?

    Everything that goes on in that dept. HE is responsible for. Everything. Little. Thing.

    The buck stops with him.
    I really hope i do not get in trouble for sharing this.

    LE No comments on The investigation.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CLDxryA6fc"]Rebecca Zahau Investigation 1 - YouTube[/ame]




    http://www.atg.wa.gov/uploadedFiles/...ch/CMIIPDF.pdf


    In honor and memory of all victims of violence, and the disappeared.
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    Sheriff Gore Talks Arpaio, Birthers, News Media and Spreckels Cases
    By Jennifer Vigil | September 28, 2012

    Snip - He also stood firmly by his department’s and the Coronado police’s conclusions that Rebecca Zahau committed suicide and Max Shacknai died in an accident in July 2011.

    The physical evidence, he said, from toxicology to DNA to footprints, guided investigators.

    “I was convinced beyond any kind of doubt that there was no way that could have been a murder,” he said of Zahau's death.

    He is confounded by continued criticism of the departments’ findings in the cases, from both the Zahau family and the Shacknai boy’s mother.

    “What is the motive for all of law enforcement to come together and conspire and lie about this case?” Gore asked. “We (are) all getting paid off by somebody? We let the facts and the evidence lead us to conclusions.”

    He accused unscrupulous attorneys of manipulating grieving family members into pursuing questions about the cases and the media of drawing undue attention to the mansion deaths.

    As an example, Gore cited, without naming the outlet, the television station that ran re-enactments of how Zahau might have bound and hung herself from a mansion balcony.

    Gore said the station's news director, whom he did not name, told him that he believed Zahau killed herself, but only ran the re-enactments and other Spreckels stories because they drew strong ratings.

    “They knew it was all BS, but the ratings went up every time,” he said. “It's a shame.”

    The station that offered the re-enactments was KFMB. Dean Elwood, Channel 8's news director, denied Gore’s allegation.

    “If he's implying that I said this, that’s not accurate,” Elwood said, adding that he stands by his station’s reporting.

    http://coronado.patch.com/articles/s...spreckels-case

  36. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mittymick View Post


    Really?

    Everything that goes on in that dept. HE is responsible for. Everything. Little. Thing.

    The buck stops with him.
    That is right........he signed off on the investigation, so his name is all over it. After all, he is the "Sheriff", and it's on his watch........he can't claim that he was unaware or uninformed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iSleuth View Post
    I really hope i do not get in trouble for sharing this.

    LE No comments on The investigation.

    Rebecca Zahau Investigation 1 - YouTube
    That's a great vid, it asks a lot of important questions that haven't been answered.

    Why didn't they do their own re-enactment?

    Did they check for fingerprints or footprints in the garage where RZ supposedly retrieved the rope that killed her?

    Why was Jonah allowed to control the investigation?

    How many times did he meet w/ Jonah's attorneys and PR people?

    How did Adam get into the house to retrieve the knife?

    What DNA was on the gloves?

    Whose DNA was found on the clump of hair?

    How many witnesses had fingerprints and DNA swabs taken?

    Did they ask Adam to take a second lie detector test?

    Did they hire a rope tying expert to train the woman officer used in their video?

    Lots of questions....

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