CA CA - Michelle Houchman, 15, & Mitchel Salomon, 9, Northridge, 12 Oct 1982

Discussion in '1980's Missing' started by Kat, Oct 3, 2010.

  1. Kat

    Kat Kind words do not cost much

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    The Doe Network:
    Case File 979DFCA

    Michelle Houchman
    Missing since October 12, 1982 from Northridge, Los Angeles County, California.
    Classification: Endangered Missing


    Vital Statistics
    •Date Of Birth: August 7, 1967
    •Age at Time of Disappearance: 15 years old
    •Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 5'8; 103 lbs.
    •Distinguishing Characteristics: White female. Brown hair; brown eyes.
    •Dentals: Available.


    Circumstances of Disappearance
    Houchman was last seen at home with her family, who are also reported missing. Also missing is her father, Sol Salomon, mother, Elaine Salomon, and younger brother, Mitchel Salomon. The family was last seen on October 12, 1982, in Los Angeles, CA. The family is from Israel and lived on Lassen Street at the time.

    Prosecutors had theorized that a suspect killed Sol Saloman after arguing with him over $20,000 Salomon had invested in the suspects car business in Reseda. They accused the suspect of going to the Salomon home to kill Elaine Salomon and the children, who knew the two men had been together that night at an auto show.
    Authorities discovered small splatters of blood in one room of the Salomon family's residence. Some of the Salomons' passports, wallets and photos were discovered scattered along the Antelope Valley Freeway near Acton, California on October 17, 1982.

    The suspect was arrested for the family's murders in August 1988. The evidence against him was circumstantial.
    The case ended in two mistrials before the suspect was acquitted of any involvement in July 1992.

    He is also a suspect in the 1982 disappearance and presumed deaths of Peter and Joan Davis of Granada Hills and Ron Adeeb of Burbank. Authorities believe all the cases stemmed from business disputes. He has never been charged in these cases due to a lack of evidence.


    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:

    Los Angeles Police Department

    Agency Case Number: 82-753296

    NCIC Number: M-095426046
    Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information regarding this case.

    Source Information:
    California Department of Justice
    The Daily News Of Los Angeles
    Heaven's Littlest Angels
    Charley Project spells her name Michalle.
    Many more details at link above.

    CA CA - Angeles Forest - Skull Found - Dec. 2009 - Page 2 - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community
    A family member posted on behalf of Michelle on this thread.
    NamUs Profile:
    Dental: available to be entered later
    DNA: NA
    Fingerprints: NA

    snipped from case report:
    I do not find her family members listed in missing persons databases.

    Picture of memorial stone for entire family who remains missing. Prayers for their loved ones left behind and their friends.

    Also snipped from NamUs is this info:
    The above snippet refers to the suspect that was tried for the deaths of Michelle's family and it ended in mistrial twice and he was aquitted in the end, the above named are also suspected to be his victims but charges have never been brought forth because of lack of evidence.

    could not locate any archived articles with search of both spellings of first name.

    Michelle has been missing almost 28 years. Come home soon.

    Attached Files:

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  3. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Former Member

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  4. Al Ka

    Al Ka Well-Known Member

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    New article just came out with lots of new information. Despite all 4 missing I think only Michelle is in Namus. Hopefully they will add whole family there soon!

    Michelle is Elaine's daughter from her first marriage therefore different surname.
    Sol was 35 and Elaine 39 at the time they went missing.

    Article is written by friend of Michelle. She talked to Elaine's mum and lots of investigators of the case. Very good and informative article, recommending to read.

    (some snips of the article in case link times out)
    It was Wednesday, October 13, 1982, and Lassen, our little street, was quiet as usual. We rang the buzzer, then rapped on the door. Silence. Sol Salomon’s burgundy Rolls-Royce preened like a peacock in the driveway; his beat-up white Dodge van, emblazoned with Apollo Fire Extinguishers, hugged the curb. The family’s cocker spaniel, Mishmish, barely stirred as we walked into the backyard, which was soaked. It was a puzzling scene.

    With no sign of the Salomons, we went home, and my mom made quick work of her phone book. Elaine Salomon’s cousin Dorene Laffer said she’d swung by their home to drop of some borrowed chairs and was surprised to find nobody there. The two women were like sisters, talking several times a day, but for more than 24 hours, she’d not heard a word. In fact, nobody had. What’s more, Elaine never showed up at the clinic where she worked as a volunteer counselor. Neither of the children—14-year-old Michelle or 9-year-old Mitchell—had been at school.
    By midnight, after my mom and I had left, the house was crawling with a dozen cops. On closer inspection, the detectives found that Michelle’s bed had been broken and that her pillowcases, sheets, and bedspread were gone. They also discovered blood droplets on her bedroom wall and mattress. A small patch of carpet had been cut out as well. In 1982 DNA analysis was largely unavailable, but the evidence suggested foul play to the police, who had nonetheless deemed it a missing persons case.

    Then a week or so later, a Caltrans worker happened upon a wallet belonging to one of the Salomons alongside the Antelope Valley Freeway, some 15 miles away. A subsequent search turned up another wallet as well as photos and personal documents belonging to the couple. The case was turned over to Major Crimes at Parker Center and reclassified as an active homicide investigation.
    Elaine and Sol first met at a bar in Hollywood. It was 1971. She was a 28-year-old divorcée with a four-year-old daughter, Michelle. Sol was 24. An Israeli immigrant, he had landed in Los Angeles a year earlier, driving a taxi and selling encyclopedias before setting up a business refilling fire extinguishers. After they married and had Mitch, they moved out of their Reseda condo and down the street from me.
    The Salomons had a taste for the good life. Greek statuary surrounded their large swimming pool. There always seemed to be new toys—a large-screen TV, VCRs, and clothes—at their home; even a baby grand piano showed up, although nobody played it. Then there was the parade of cars: the canary yellow Continental Mark V, a midnight blue Mercedes-Benz, the burgundy Rolls-Royce. During occasional mother-daughter lunches, Elaine took Michelle and me out in the Rolls to dine on the top floor of the Bonaventure Hotel downtown.
    Daryl Gates, L.A.’s pugnacious police chief, held a press conference in which he characterized the investigation as “difficult and perplexing” and as one that could “prove to be very important.” He described the blood in Michelle’s bedroom. When asked how much, Gates responded that it was “more blood than I would want to lose.”
    Other rumors surfaced: that Sol was an Israeli intelligence agent, a drug dealer, or maybe a gun runner, and the family was on the lam for one of his unknowable offenses. It wasn’t all speculation. I recall an afternoon when my dad blasted through our front door, rattled after Sol showed him several Uzis that he was selling. While my dad refused to discuss the matter at home, the district attorney got wind of this episode and subpoenaed him, a detail my uncle—my dad’s brother—recently confirmed.
    Marty Laffer knew that Sol was no saint, but he thought allegations about ties to any Israeli mafia were “********.” According to him, the extent of Sol’s misdeeds didn’t go beyond some apartment buildings he owned in Van Nuys and leveraged in an insurance scam. After the family disappeared, Marty kept Sol’s business afloat for a short period and filed his taxes. Standing with me in a North Hollywood storage locker last fall, pulling out reams of files on the investigation he had packed away, he joked, “It was probably the first honest return Sol ever filed.”
    The room was filled with photos of Elaine, Michelle, and Mitch, but none of Sol. Marge (Elaine's mother) theorized how the family was murdered over a bad business deal. “Michelle fought like hell,” she told me, pulling out a photograph of her. “Michelle never smiled. She was very unhappy.” Marge hissed, “I hate Sol. I blame him,” then cataloged his sins: He traveled to Europe without Elaine, slept with prostitutes, had stopped bathing regularly, and got involved in all sorts of unsavory activities. There were stacks of cash hidden behind picture frames and who knows what else, she claimed.
    The truth as she now unspooled it was that Elaine was miserable. Marge revealed that her daughter had been having an affair and wanted desperately to leave Sol. Not long before she disappeared, Elaine unburdened herself to her mother, only to have Marge tick off all the reasons leaving was a bad idea, not least of which was that Elaine’s boyfriend didn’t have two nickels to rub together. “I told her to stay. ‘You have a beautiful home, you don’t have to work, you go out with your friends and have whatever you want. Stay with Sol,’” she said to me, consumed with guilt.
    It was messy, and one of the things I learned early on was that you can’t tell Sol Salomon’s story without telling Harvey Rader’s.

    A thuggish John Belushi look-alike, Rader grew up on the streets of London. He’d been convicted of more than a dozen crimes in England, including armed robbery, and had gone to prison nine times. In 1980, two years after landing in the U.S., he had been involved in the infamous New Year’s Eve arson that razed the garish Sunset Boulevard mansion of the Saudi sheik Mohammed al-Fassi, fronted by nude garden statuary that had been painted to look more lifelike. The fire served as cover for an elaborate insurance fraud scheme and the theft of the sheik’s artworks, which Rader fenced. He received immunity in exchange for testifying against his cronies, among them a Hollywood plastic surgeon.

    Rader was the owner of Mr. Motor, a European car repair shop in Reseda. Sol was said to buy used cars at auction that Rader then fixed up and resold, according to various accounts. It was with Rader that Sol attended a car auction in Rosemead the night he disappeared. Dorene Laffer told me that Sol and Rader had a nasty falling out two years earlier and that she was shocked when Elaine informed her they were in business together. Dorene went on to tell me that the day after the police arrived at the Salomons’, she came to the house and found Sol’s brother on the phone with Rader. She asked to speak to him, hoping he might have an idea of the family’s whereabouts; Rader told her the family was probably on vacation. “They wouldn’t have gone on vacation without telling me,” she said. Besides, the family’s luggage and Elaine’s hair dryer were still in the house. According to Dorene, Rader allegedly asked her, “Do you know where the guns are?” When, surprised, she responded, “What guns?” he told her, “Never mind.”

    Rader quickly became a person of interest to the LAPD. Not only was he the last person believed to have seen Sol alive but quite possibly Elaine, too. About 11:30 p.m. on the night in question, Elaine was on the phone with her best friend, Barbara Levy, when she said to her, “I’ve got to answer the door. Harvey is at the door.”

    Police questioned Rader on October 14, the same day Dorene said she spoke with him. Asked about the scratches on his hands, he explained that he’d gotten them working on cars. Rader denied being in business with Sol but said in his statement to the police that the two did go to the auction, leaving from Mr. Motor together. He said that afterward he dropped Sol of at an Israeli restaurant on Ventura Boulevard, then went on his own to the Salomons’ house to deposit Sol’s van, leaving the keys in their mailbox, and picked up their Mercedes to take for repairs. Rader claimed that he declined Sol’s offer to meet two “hookers” in Hollywood at 10 p.m. and noted that Sol frequented the strip clubs on Sepulveda Boulevard and Israeli restaurants on Ventura. According to the report, Rader also claimed that Sol had been selling Uzis, revolvers, and automatic handguns to other Israelis and that he was manufacturing silencers and transporting the weapons in his work vans.

    But Rader’s story was filled with inconsistencies. The Israeli restaurant was closed that evening, and the car auction ended at 5 p.m., putting his time line out of whack. What’s more, Rader gave conflicting versions about picking up the keys to the Salomons’ Mercedes. In one he got them from Elaine; in another he grabbed them out of their mailbox.

    As the investigation lurched forward, the police discovered that Rader had ties to three other unsolved missing-persons cases. Seven months before the Salomons vanished, British expats Peter and Joan Davis disappeared. The couple bought and sold luxury cars with Rader. According to reports, Rader told the police that Peter Davis was involved in fencing stolen jewelry and guns. When the police arrived at the Davises’ house in Granada Hills, the couple’s dinner was still cooking on the stove; their luggage, a valuable painting reportedly by Gainsborough, and their pet Akita were gone. Their Thunderbird was abandoned in a Los Angeles International Airport parking lot. This, the police would learn, was two months after a Burbank businessman named Ron Adeeb told relatives he was going to see a man about cars and vanished. The man was later determined to be Rader. Adeeb’s car was found in an LAX parking lot as well.

    LAPD detectives believed that all parties had been murdered, and Rader was the prime suspect. But they lacked three significant elements to prove his guilt: a motive, witnesses, and the bodies.
    Still incredulous 35 years later, Dorene (Elaine's sister) told me she believed the family had been stuffed in the trunk that night and she insisted the police didn’t inspect it for evidence. The Laffers said the police never ran a check on the car, which would have revealed that it had been stolen. There was something else: More than a year after the Salomons disappeared, the Laffers prepared to sell the family’s house and found massive bloodstains under the children’s beds—evidence they said the police managed to miss.
    A taxi driver back in his native England, Paulle worked as Rader’s right-hand man. He lived next door to the Davises in Granada Hills and was said to have worked for the couple in the past, repairing their cars. When detectives first questioned him in connection with their disappearance, he said that he’d driven Peter Davis home from a car auction the night he went missing. But the police initially viewed Paulle as a non-starter, and he returned to London, driving cabs again. Convinced that Paulle knew more than he let on, Sampson flew to London several times to try to persuade him to talk about Rader. But Paulle remained silent each time, apparently in fear of his cousin.

    He finally caved and spoke to Sampson when, at the P.I.’s urging, a woman who identified herself as a relative of Elaine’s told Paulle that a group of California-based Israelis planned to hurt him and his family in retaliation for the Salomons’ murders. Sampson, who died in 2004, recounted to the Los Angeles Times the moment Paulle broke, saying, “The first words out of his mouth, so help me God, were, ‘Joe, you’re right. Harvey’s a psycho.’ ” With Sampson in tow, Paulle told Scotland Yard detectives that Rader murdered the Davises and the Salomons. Scotland Yard relayed his accounts to the LAPD, which wanted a formal statement. But Paulle refused to cooperate further unless he was granted immunity from prosecution for the murders. After telephone negotiations, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office drafted the deal, and Paulle agreed to come to Los Angeles under Scotland Yard escort, provide statements to the LAPD, and help locate the bodies. Landing in Los Angeles on November 13, 1983, Paulle was placed under armed guard and put up at the New Otani Hotel downtown.

    “Obviously he was scared to death Harvey would know what he was doing,” Larry Bird told me. The LAPD’s lead detective on the case, Bird had also flown to London multiple times for the investigation. Initially his focus was Rader and working with Scotland Yard, but he wound up speaking with Paulle as well.
    In his conversation with me, Bird made sure to point out that it was only after flying to Los Angeles and speaking to the LAPD that Paulle implicated himself, saying that he not only helped bury the bodies but also was present during the murders. In addition, he claimed that Rader confessed to killing Adeeb. “[Paulle] had not admitted he was at the crime scene” when he spoke to authorities in London, Bird told me, “only that he had knowledge of it. When he came back to California and he was confronted, that’s when he admitted that he was there.”

    The way Paulle told it, Sol sat in Rader’s Mr. Motor office the night of October 12, 1982. With him were another car dealer named Jerry Baxter and two Italian men, whose names Paulle couldn’t remember. When Sol demanded Rader repay him $20,000, Rader shot him in the head and stuffed him in the trunk of a Rolls-Royce. Rader, Paulle, and the Italians then drove to the Salomons’ home, where, according to Paulle, Rader jumped Elaine and slammed her head onto the marble bar, crushing her skull. He beat Mitch to death with a baseball bat and strangled Michelle. Paulle said that Rader and the men came out of the house carrying three bodies wrapped in sheets and placed them in the trunk of the family’s Mercedes. Rader went back later that night, returning with trash bags and his promissory note to Sol.

    Paulle was apparently accustomed to Rader dispatching people. In his telling, Rader planned to steal artwork from the Davises, and Paulle accompanied him to the couple’s home under the pretext of buying one of their cars. As Paulle chatted up Peter Davis, Rader shot him in the head. Paulle said that he ran into Joan as he fled the scene and then saw her body the next day. They supposedly dumped the corpses of Interstate 5 on the way to Bakersfield.

    Bird told me it strained credulity to think Paulle happened to be present when Rader killed multiple people on different occasions. (“Yeah, he denied ever killing anybody. He was just there, and then he helped dispose of the bodies.”) But in a frustratingly circumstantial case, Paulle was all the police had connecting Rader to the murders.

    On November 14, 1983, Paulle was supposed to lead investigators to the Salomons’ remains in Acton, near Antelope Valley, but all they found was a tattered green quilt. “We went out to the desert area, and he was trying to show us different areas where he thought the bodies were buried, but nothing worked out,” Bird recalled. “He was lying, or he didn’t really want us to find the bodies because he thought if we’d never find them, nobody could be prosecuted.” The following day a search for the Davises’ bodies of the highway on the way to Bakersfield also yielded nothing. Police administered four polygraph tests to Paulle. He failed them all.

    Investigators suspected that Rader had dumped the Salomons’ bodies into one of the numerous mine shafts dotting the area. “If I remember,” Bird said, “Harvey told somebody he knew about mine shafts being a great place to bury bodies. But Ashley never took us to the mine shafts. He only took us to areas where he thought there would be shallow graves.”

    As we spoke, Bird bristled, recounting this brutal homicide case that got away. “I’m still, to this day, convinced that Harvey planted that evidence out there of of Highway 14 on purpose and took the bodies in the opposite direction,” he said, referring to the discovery early on of Sol and Elaine’s wallets and papers. “I mean, it’s just something I think happened. He’s a smart guy, cunning. But I had no evidence to prove that.”

    In 1982, a Family Disappeared From Their Valley Home—What Happened to the Salomons?
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