CA CA - Cecile Moch, 19, Santa Barbara, 7 Aug 1980

Discussion in '1980's Missing' started by dizzigirl1, Dec 31, 2015.

  1. wdmcmahan

    wdmcmahan Well-Known Member

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    Websleuths is victim-friendly. Cecile’s family are victims so there should be none of that here, but if you see something like that please use the report button.

    Regarding the family providing a DNA sample… it’s something that only has to be done once. Why wouldn’t they want to provide that for comparison with future possible matches? (Genuine question, I’m not trying to be snarky) Maybe they thought it’s something they would need to do each time a possible match was found?
     


  2. hermosasurfer

    hermosasurfer Member

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    I would answer by asking you to put yourself into their shoes. They've been through a great deal of pain and have been for quite some time. At some point (this being 40+ years) people have gone through the stages of grieving and moved to acceptance. If they didn't they'd end up in a rubber room. Acceptance can be a fragile place with a scab that is easily ripped off. Consider that, and I think you can answer this question yourself.
     
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  3. hermosasurfer

    hermosasurfer Member

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    Another answer is simply....."after 40 years where's the DNA going to come from?" Maybe they have a bit of baby hair? Maybe not. Maybe they have baby teeth? Maybe not. I suspect that one thing they don't need after all this time is having that scab ripped off and that would probably do a really good job of doing that.
     
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  4. wdmcmahan

    wdmcmahan Well-Known Member

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    Websleuths is victim-friendly. Cecile’s family are victims so there should be none of that here, but if you see something like that please use the report button.

    Regarding the family providing a DNA sample… it’s something that only has to be done once. Why wouldn’t they want to provide that for comparison with future possible matches? (Genuine question, I’m not trying to be snarky) Maybe they thought it’s something they would need to do each time a possible match was found?
    I definitely get what you’re saying. I suppose it’s difficult for me to get into the mindset of “normal” people who don’t do research on the missing and unidentified on a daily basis.

    Regardless of anything, I hope Cecile will be found someday and that if she IS an unidentified person, she deserves her name and remains to be unified.
     
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  5. hermosasurfer

    hermosasurfer Member

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    I can run through a DNA scenario. I got my Ph.D. working with archived samples up to 100 years old for evolution studies. In fact, I got my Ph.D. in the lab where PCR was developed and was the first generation of young researchers to use the tool. It's an area I know something about.

    You're 88 years old and your child has been missing for 42 years. You've come to terms with the loss of your child by now but of course it still hurts.

    Someone comes and asks for some hair, for example. It's the only thing you have to remember your child by, but sure, you give it up to get some DNA. There needs to be actual tissue attached to the hair to get that DNA. It can't just be cut off and kept in a box for sixty years. But say by chance there's a hair or two that has tissue attached. Great. DNA degrades over time and due to conditions but say the box of hair has been kept in dry, dark conditions, and no moisture has come in to create chemical conditions that degrade DNA. It's not a museum archive or a tissue storage facility but again, by chance one of the follicles has extractable DNA and it provides fragments large enough to fingerprint. Those seeking closure for the parents (something they're not asking for, by the way, they've reconciled and gone through their stages of grief) get what they want.

    The DNA is sequenced, the family sits on pins and needles for a while, the whole thing having now become fresh in their minds like it was yesterday.

    Most likely scenario there's no match.

    However there's always a chance and EUEKA....a Jane Doe from sometime over the last 40 years is a match.

    What does the family get out of this? They get to see photos of their dead daughter lying on a slab. Great. They've been remembering their daughter as a happy and beautiful child and young woman, now that vision is replaced by a bloated, beaten and tortured body on a slab. 'Cause you know if she was killed she wasn't killed easy. She was a young woman abducted and disappeared.

    Another scenario, she's been in the desert in a ditch for 40 years and they get a bag full of bones. GREAT. Same scenario as above.

    The only thing they get out of this is that they get to have a funeral. Do they want this? Do they need this? Has anybody asked? Do we even know that the family has been asked for a DNA sample? This is a cold case. Nobody's picking it up; a couple of us have gone that route and found that out.

    One positive outcome could be that justice could be done. It's their daughter after all, maybe they want that. However, even if they get an I.D. the chances of finding the people who did it to her are close to nil. What's left of say hair or skin from the perps after 40 years of lying in a ditch in the desert?

    My point here is I'd tend to be easy on the parents. It's most likely not even a matter of them refusing to provide DNA samples. It's a cold case and had been a cold case for more than a decade before DNA methods had even evolved to the point where they were used regularly for fresh cases. Those of us who have tried to get the police to look at the case again don't even get a response.

    And, I'd hope that anybody who doesn't have a solid reason for asking for DNA would think about the possible outcomes for the parents and family and what THEY want and need before doing that asking.
     
  6. hermosasurfer

    hermosasurfer Member

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    Regardless of anything, I hope Cecile will be found someday and that if she IS an unidentified person, she deserves her name and remains to be unified.[/QUOTE]

    Realistically, given what we know about Sunburst and the things that were going on that the time, that probably won't happen. They were killing their members and throwing them into the bread kiva. Cecile went back up to the Farm and disappeared within yards of that bread kiva. That's just brutal reality. I've spoken with people who are my age and older now who were amongst the escapees of the whacky-druggy-weapons era of Sunburst (the era Cecile was involved with) and some remember her, some were so stoned at the time that the best they can do is recall the bread kiva incident and something like "oh yeah, I remember something about a girl going missing". In fact I've got one on the line right now who's telling me he's asking others that he thinks might have known Cecile at the time if they remember anything. There are still quite a few of these Sunburst escapees around Santa Barbara. Some are functioning OK. Some are so damaged that they're homeless on State St and don't remember much of anything before this morning.
     
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  7. wdmcmahan

    wdmcmahan Well-Known Member

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    @hermosasurfer you bring a lot of good points here, and a lot of good information.

    I respect everything you’ve said. It is always important to be respectful to the family, friends and loved ones of a missing person.

    Obviously the choice of whether or not to submit DNA is up to the family in these types of situations, unless of course a warrant for it was obtained for whatever reason.

    The truth is always important. Unfortunately the families of the missing people are victims too. The truth is still going to be important after those family members are gone. Nothing about it is fair or right for anyone.

    I don’t want to derail Cecile’s thread with my beliefs and opinions.

    Can you tell us about Cecile when you knew her? What she was like? Her mannerisms, things she enjoyed doing, things she was passionate about?
     
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  8. TedMac

    TedMac Well-Known Member

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    The FBI may be interested in the info? There should be a local office near to the location.
     
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  9. theshadow45

    theshadow45 Well-Known Member

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    Cecile has been missing for 41 years today.
     
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  10. hermosasurfer

    hermosasurfer Member

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    Hello all. First, the FBI was told about all of this when it happened. Trust me. Nobody was or has been lax.

    Respect for the feelings of the family is what I'm after here. I didn't like seeing suggestions that the family is somehow stonewalling. That's just not the case. Bringing back the DNA if they've not given a sample the most likely reason is that they just don't have material from 40-60 years ago that's suitable. I know that if someone were to come to my parents for a sample like that they wouldn't have hair with tissue attached or an old tooth to grind up. Go easy on them, they've got enough to continue to deal with. The "why won't they give a sample???!!" thing isn't fair, nor is it useful. And as ugly as it sounds, keep in mind that the working theory has always been that she ended up in that bread kiva. It was their M.O. with people who went against the cult.

    Tell you about Cecile....when I was dating her, she was a nice girl. Fun, happy, full of energy and laughter. I especially remember the laughter. She was into the usual stuff 15 year old girls are into. From the times we'd seen each other over the years that didn't change, she was still full of fun. I never heard her say anything sarcastic or mean. She was a little innocent in that way. I don't think I have a memory of her where she wasn't wearing a smile. She was kind of like everybody's little sister.

    By the way I did some digging and found that some of the old Sunburst crowd are still in a small spot on the road in NE Nevada called Oasis. They've got a trailer park out there. I drive through Wells on my way to Yellowstone every fall and I plan to stop in. Sunburst was one of those cults that did a good job of brainwashing. Maybe she's out there and nobody's thought to go look. Stranger things have happened.
     
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  11. hermosasurfer

    hermosasurfer Member

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    Some thoughts on the DNA issue. I can tell you reasons why it's unlikely that years after the fact the family couldn't provide samples suitable for DNA analysis. With the time factor in mind, the most likely places for suitable samples (hair with tissue, saliva on a toothbrush, blood from a scrape, things she'd touched and left skin cells behind on, trace from the two big people who were with her, etc) would have been the car and her apartment. SBPD took what samples they took back then. Pre-DNA they did take forensic samples for blood typing, hair comparisons etc, so if there were any samples to be had it's likely SBPD has them archived.

    If someone were to want to do some real sleuthing I'd suggest starting by calling SBPD to ask about those samples.
     
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  12. wdmcmahan

    wdmcmahan Well-Known Member

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    I want to address this mainly because I don’t want people reading on Cecile’s thread in the future to be misinformed.

    DNA to identify an Unidentified Person doesn’t have to be exclusively from that person. Relatives can submit THEIR OWN DNA to compare. So it wouldn’t be necessary to have held onto a baby tooth or lock of hair for decades.

    Back to Cecile.

    Do you have any thoughts on what could have occurred for Cecile to end up in the bread kiva?
    From what you’ve said of her personality, it seems unlikely that this cult would feel threatened by her, or that she would even want to cause any trouble for them.

    Did you and Cecile ever talk about what it was like at Sunburst Farms for her? Did she have a boyfriend there? Did she ever mention anything that would now be considered a red flag, such as anyone bothering her, wanting to date her and she refused, etc?
     
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  13. wdmcmahan

    wdmcmahan Well-Known Member

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    Bbm. Do you remember where her apartment was?
     
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  14. hermosasurfer

    hermosasurfer Member

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    I do not. I was never there. I only saw her when she came back to the old neighborhood.

    Siiiggghhh....we can argue about the DNA issue all day and come to no conclusion because, again, stay away from the family. They've got enough to worry about. Your dedicated to the "truth" is admirable but it can be taken too far. It's THEIR DAUGHTER. If they wanted to they would and for all we know, they have. Again, if you want to know more about that you should go straight to the police and ask.

    I've gone over why they'd toss her in the bread kiva: she was bringing more unwanted attention down on their drug deals. There was money tied up in that. She'd brought in scrutiny from family and the authorities as soon as she'd gone to UCLA rehab. They'd killed one who'd left the cult over it already. Since nothing at all was ever found besides the car and footprints leading off towards the kiva.....it doesn't really take a lot to get to "what's another murder" to a desperate, drugged out psychotic who was convinced that aliens were going to come down and save the planet and was hoarding a mass of weapons against doomsday.

    She didn't tell me about Sunburst at all. Hearing about that was a surprise. She did have a boyfriend for a while, and yes he was considered and discarded as a suspect.
     
  15. alb1on

    alb1on Well-Known Member

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    One small thing struck me rereading some of the old and new material. Cecile's car was found on the road over the Santa Ynez mountains. An article from 2019 at The Last Great California Hippie Commune is still going Strong (messynessychic.com) includes the line;

    "The police “discovered that they had a stash of serious weapons up on Gibraltar Road at a strategic bend,” explains Ernest, “with a plan to close the road when some doomsday event they thought was imminent happened."

    Gibraltar Road is the road over the Santa Ynez mountains and suggests Cecile's car was found within a very short distance of the cults arms dump and at a time when the cult leadership was both twitchy (and doped up). This reinforces the connection for me, adding to the new insider information in recent posts.

    The obvious question raised by all the recent information pointing to the Sunburst Farms involvement is, who was in the leadership cadre at that time (other than Paulsen, who is dead)? I assume some are still alive and I would also assume that anything that happened was directed by or carried out by some person or persons in that group. I wonder if Michael Ableman has information and insights about that time? Given his relative prominence in the eco movement he may rather prefer to help quietly, especially given his leaving the cult on less than friendly terms?

    The other interesting thing in the article is the info that the remainder of the cult maintains one last store in Solvang - and I noticed hermosasurfer's reference to the shutters going up when he enquired in Solvang. Perhaps the town connections remain stronger than expected and explain the reluctance to talk. Maybe someone more removed from any lingering influence may be a better target?

    One final question. I noted hermosasurfer's reference to a murder and burning of the body at Sunburst. I wondered whether this referred to the Price/Harris case from 1981 (see Santa Ynez Valley News from Solvang, California on October 29, 1981 · 3 (newspapers.com) - click on OCR to read) or whether it was another case?
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2021
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  16. TedMac

    TedMac Well-Known Member

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    You certainly seem to have a lot of insight into this case. I have a few questions that I hope you do not mind answering. (1) Who has been harassing or criticizing Cecile's family? It must have been on a different forum as I have never read any of that here. Victim bashing is not permitted on Websleuths. I have talked online with some people close to the family and have never been made aware of it. (2) How long before her disappearance were you dating her? Did she have any boyfriends after you that you are suspicious of? (3) I read somewhere that her boyfriend and his new girlfriend were questioned by Police and cleared? Were you aware of this? (4) You mentioned that you and her were friends after your break-up. Do you know who she was dating at the time of her disappearance and did she ever express any fear of any of her boyfriends (present or past) or anyone else?

    Thank you for answering any of these questions that you can.

    Just to be clear, I am not accusing you of any involvement in her disappearance. Just trying to find out some facts!
     
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  17. hermosasurfer

    hermosasurfer Member

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    Hey all. I got through to the guy I'd run across last year who'd run from the cult in 1980. We talked about the kiva incidents and he told me that there was more than one thrown into the kiva and the reason was disputes over drug deals.

    This lends credence to the notion that her being in rehab and bringing more attention to their drug dealings was what was behind her disappearance. And, that she ended up in the kiva.

    I've answered those question already in my posts but I'll be succinct here:

    1) I've seen a whole bunch of "what's WRONG with the family??" posts around the web. It made me mad and get protective. These are nice people that I still care bout.

    2) Like I said I dated her in '75/'75. For reference, we watched Alice Cooper's Welcome to my Nightmare together one night at her place.

    3) I'd mentioned before that yes she'd had a boyfriend. They had broken up months before, and he'd been considered and discarded as a suspect.

    4) no fears about boyfriends were mentioned. She was single when I saw her that summer, just a couple of months before she went back up there. Again, all that was in face considered by the police at the time and discarded. I got that rundown from her mother at the time. The boyfriend she HAD been with months before had nothing to do with Sunburst. In fact if I remember right one reason they'd split was because he didn't like Sunburst. Most of us didn't.

    Everything pointed to and still points to the darker side of Sunburst and their dealings in drugs, murder and disposing of bodies in the bread kiva.
     
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  18. hermosasurfer

    hermosasurfer Member

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    Hey so here's one for you. This guy I've been talking to who escaped in 1980........I got hold of him on facebook a few minutes ago and got a name for a guy who matches the description of one of the big, angry guys I met when Cecile's mother and I crashed Sunburt.....Jake or Jacob. Big, burly guy with pockmarks (the only one he remembers who had pockmarks) and apparently he was close to Paulsen's inner circle and involved in the drug dealings.

    Most interesting news....he told me that Jake/Jacob is still up at the Sunburst Sanctuary in the Santa Ynez mountains.

    This is something the dedicated sleuths in your group can sink your teeth into. Give them a call and ask for Jake/Jacob. See what happens. I'm putting going up there personally on my list for when I get back from my summer field research travels. I'm a forest ecologist and summer's my time to be out in the world.
     
  19. TedMac

    TedMac Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your response.
     
  20. alb1on

    alb1on Well-Known Member

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    hermosasurfer; you may have already gone through the list of ex-members of Sunburst, but if you have yet to do so I would reach out to Michael Ableman and Mehosh Dziadzio. The former escaped or left on bad terms in the late70s/early 80s and is now a fairly prominent speaker on the eco movement and alternative lifestyles. The latter left in 1979 (no idea on what terms) but was the commune photographer from 72-79 and seems to have an arty profile in Santa Barbara. Both may be more amenable to a quiet discussion if it avoids more public appeals and questions, and the latter will have old photos of all the people at Sunburst in the late 70s (he did a show in 2013 with the photos, some of which can be found at Sunburst Communities on Behance ).

    I assume the Jake/Jacob is Jake Collier, who has been with them since '72. I would assume trying to reach out to him (or Adolphsen, the other leader who has been around from the early 70s) would be pointless. They are hardly going to hold up their hands.
     
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