CA CA - Pacifica, UP10587, WhtMale, 18-30, torso/legs, Linda Del Mar State Beach, killed 1973, May'74

iulia

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Date of Discovery: February 10, 1974
Location of Discovery: Pacifica, California
Estimated Date of Death: 2 months prior
State of Remains: Skeletal with small amounts of tissue
Cause of Death: Homicide

Physical Description
Estimated Age: 18-30 years old
Race: White
Sex: Male
Height: Unknown
Weight: Unknown
Hair Color: Unknown
Eye Color: Unknown
Distinguishing Marks/Features: Unknown.

Identifiers
Dentals: Unknown
Fingerprints: Unknown
DNA: Unknown

Clothing & Personal Items
Clothing: Blue Levis Strauss jeans, white brief-type underwear
Jewelry: None.
Additional Personal Items: None.

Circumstances of Discovery
This human torso was discovered on the beach by two individuals near Pacheco Street while walking their dog. The individual was wrapped up in a bundle, and was missing their hands, feet, and head. The death and dismemberment of this man was later attributed to the "Death Angels", a group of men who committed a string of murders in and around San Francisco from 1973-1974. According to an informant, this man was a homeless individual who was kidnapped from Ghirardelli Square, and was subsequently tortured and murdered by the killers. He is also known as John Doe #169

Investigating Agency(s)
Agency Name: San Mateo County Coroner's Office
Agency Contact Person: Tully Vogt
Agency Phone Number: 650-312-5562
Agency E-Mail: Unknown
Agency Case Number: 74-0407

Agency Name: Pacifica Police Department
Agency Contact Person: Unknown
Agency Phone Number: 650-738-7314
Agency E-Mail: [email protected]
Agency Case Number: Unknown

NCIC Case Number: Unknown
NamUs Case Number: 10587
Former Hot Case Number: NA

Information Source(s)
NamUs
San Mateo County Coroner's Office
Zebra: The True Account of 179 Days of Terror in San Francisco by Clark Howard
 

MadMcGoo

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UP10587

Should the title of the thread be changed? Or is this two different victims? One in 73 and one in 74? I’m not familiar with these murders.
 

Goecke

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UP10587

Should the title of the thread be changed? Or is this two different victims? One in 73 and one in 74? I’m not familiar with these murders.
It seems like there's some confusion as to when the body was found, but most sources are saying the victim was killed in '73 but not found until '74.
He was also found in Pacifica, California. It sounds like he was murdered in San Francisco, but his body wasn't actually found there.
 

MadMcGoo

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It seems like there's some confusion as to when the body was found, but most sources are saying the victim was killed in '73 but not found until '74.
He was also found in Pacifica, California. It sounds like he was murdered in San Francisco, but his body wasn't actually found there.
Ahhh ok. Thanks for clarifying. I wasn’t prepared to go down that rabbit hole just yet. :p
 

FogHornFiles

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20 year old Martin Christopher Austin was last seen at home by his mother at 8:00 a.m. on March 15th 1974. Later the same day he picked up his paycheck at Solano Community College in Fairfield, CA but failed to report for work there the next day. Mr. Austin's vehicle was found abandoned in the parking lot of Linda Mar Shopping Center in Pacifica, CA on March 17th 1974. He was of Caucasian descent and was last seen wearing blue jeans size 34/36 waist, gray t-shirt, and a brown suede jacket. He is listed as missing from Fairfield, California.

On May 10th 1974 a male body was found in the surf by a passing jogger in Pacifica, California. The body was estimated to be aged 18-30 years old and of Caucasian descent. The body was clothed in Blue Levis Strauss jeans and white brief-type underwear. The estimated year of death was 1973 or 1974.

I've been in contact with Fairfield, California Police and Pacifica Police. They said they appreciated the tip and that they would investigate further. I was curious what the community would think. Was this worth submitting ? I admit the time between the disappearance and discover of the body in the surf is strange. I further understand that this case is often attributed to the “death angels”

[Missing Person Case (namus.gov)](The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs))

[Unidentified Person Case (namus.gov)](The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs))
 

FogHornFiles

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20 year old Martin Christopher Austin was last seen at home by his mother at 8:00 a.m. on March 15th 1974. Later the same day he picked up his paycheck at Solano Community College in Fairfield, CA but failed to report for work there the next day. Mr. Austin's vehicle was found abandoned in the parking lot of Linda Mar Shopping Center in Pacifica, CA on March 17th 1974. He was of Caucasian descent and was last seen wearing blue jeans size 34/36 waist, gray t-shirt, and a brown suede jacket. He is listed as missing from Fairfield, California.

[Missing Person Case (namus.gov)](The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs))

[Martin Christopher Austin | State of California - Department of Justice - Office of the Attorney General ](Martin Christopher Austin)

On May 10th 1974 a male body was found in the surf by a passing jogger in Pacifica, California. The body was estimated to be aged 18-30 years old and of Caucasian descent. The body was clothed in Blue Levis Strauss jeans and white brief-type underwear. The estimated year of death was 1973 or 1974. (Some sites list the body as being found Feb 10th. This is incorrect.

[Unidentified Person Case (namus.gov)](The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs))

[JOHN DOE / CASE #74-407 | Coroner (smcgov.org)](JOHN DOE / CASE #74-407 | Coroner)

If you search for additional information on this unidentified person case you will most likely come across the “[Unidentified Wiki](https://unidentified.wikia.org/wiki/San_Mateo_County_John_Doe_(1974))” page and a few others discussing our particular John Doe. Many include information on Anthony Harris and the Death Angels. However this information is inaccurate. Here is what they say below. (This link also says Feb 10th for a unknown reason)

“The victim was discovered by two women walking a dog on the beach in a bundle. Both arms were tied by wire at the sides of the torso and the knees bound to the chest. The lower abdomen was cut from the hip bones and the victim’s head, hands, and feet were never recovered. In 1974, Anthony Harris went to the police and told them about the Death Angels, a black Muslim nationalist gang that did random attacks against white people in San Francisco that killed fifteen and wounded eight to ten between 1973-1974. Harris told them specifically about the unidentified victim, now dubbed "John Doe #169". The victim was allegedly a homeless man they abducted in Ghirardelli Square on December 24th, 1974 . They then brought him to the Black Self-Help Moving’s warehouse where they gagged, tied up, and took turns torturing the man by hacking his limbs while he was still conscious.” - From Unidentified Wiki

The above story is in connection to a nude body found on December 24th 1974 in San Francisco, California.(No articles online about the discovery of this body. I used Newspaper.com) The body was found on Ocean Beach at the end of Pacheco Street. Papers at the time said “The nude body had no head, hands, or feet … there was also a gaping wound in the abdomen”. Police believed the body had only been in the water for two days, if not less. The story in the Paper even mentions the same young women walking her dogs as the Unidentified Wiki article. Furthermore the body in San Francisco was considered to have only been in the water for two days or less. The Pacifica body was estimated to have been in the water for over a month.

Namus Shows Martin Austin as an exclusion for the body found in Pacifica, California on May 10th 1974. However could this be a mistake ? The timing, age, height, location, and ethnicity all match. Furthermore the body was found in Jeans, this was what Martin was last reported wearing. Martin's car was found in Pacifica on March 17th 1974. This would be consistent with the theory that the body was in the water for a month.

[Zebra](Zebra: The True Account of 179 Days of Terror in San Francisco : Clark Howard : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive) by Clark Howard Gives some interesting insight. (Not completely sure on the accuracy of this book). On page 166 Howard writes about a particular detail Harris mentioned about the man they kidnapped on December 24th. Upon inspecting the victims identification one of the kidnappers said “This sucker aint even from around here man, He probably won't even be reported missing here”. Harris had described this man as homeless. It's curious to me that they even assumed a homeless man would be reported missing. The Bay Area has always been a transient hotspot. There was little risk of a missing homeless man being reported. However, a college student from Fairfeild is a different story. Fairfield to San Francisco is just over an hour's drive away. The additional drive to Pacifica only adds a further 10-15 minutes. The suspects could have thought that this separation would help buy them time and that the man's disappearance would not be noticed in San Francisco. This memory could possibly have been referencing Martins murder but at a later date. Possibly Harris confused which attack was which. This murder is further talked about on pages 173-74, 180-81, and 354-355.

At the time the [Zebra](Zebra murders - Wikipedia) murders were in full swing. A number of bodies were found mutilated on beaches so I guess it's not hard to imagine one ending up in the nearby coastal town of Pacifica. Just seems like a very big coincidence. What do you think ? Could Martin have fallen victim to the Death Angels ? The deaths on the beaches were all extremely similar. Im curious as to what testing was done to rule Martin out. Do any crimes or bodies around Fairfield Match Martin ?
 

MalaYQue!

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Hi all. The remains found on Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica CA on May 10th, 1974 have been ruled out as a match for Martin Austin. I totally agree with you that the timeline, circumstances, and physical descriptions looked like a very strong possibility. The possible match between "Pacifica Unknown" and Martin Christopher Austin was conclusively eliminated by a DNA comparison in 2020. The body was exhumed and the DNA was compared to the family reference sample DNA for Martin, on file with CA DOJ. As for the discrepancy in the dates Pacifica Unknown was found on the beach in Pacifica: it appears to have been a typo in the original NamUs entry and has since been corrected to May 10, 1974. Martin Austin's NamUs entry was also edited in the Circumstances section to put his last known location in Pacifica, CA rather than Fairfield, CA.
 

MadMcGoo

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Good to know that he's been officially (?) ruled out. Seemed like a good match.

I am reading a book, Season of the Witch, and there's a paragraph about the Zebra murders. Very interesting. The chapter is titled, "Black and White and Red All Over". Good read.

ETA: I hadn't come to this part yet, which is cited on the wikipedia page linked above. The book is very well researched from what I can tell, FWIW: Details may be disturbing to some.
Some of the savagery that came out of the Black Self-Help Moving Company rivaled the baroque barbarity of the Spanish Inquisition. One night a young white man was kidnapped near Ghirardelli Square and taken back to the warehouse loft, where he was stripped naked, tied to a chair, and gagged with a dirty cloth. A line of devil slayers then took turns on him while he screamed into his gag. Using a hideous assortment of instruments - including knives, meat cleavers, and metal cutters - they clipped off parts of his body, starting with his fingers and toes, until he was disassembled like a hog in a butcher's shop.

Anthony Harris, who by then was feeling estranged from his blood mad Black Muslim brothers, was summoned to participate in the depraved ceremony, but he arrived after it was over. "You too late," said Larry Green - a former Berkeley High School basketball star who once dreamed of playing in the NBA, a young man who had kissed his mother every day when he was growing up. "All the fun done though. " Green and the others ordered Harris to dispose of the body, or at least a large chunk of it, which was wrapped in canvas and plastic. Harris drove the grisly package out to Sutro Heights, where he lugged it to the edge of the cliff and heaved it into the sea. It washed up nearby on Ocean Beach on a foggy Christmas Eve morning, where it was discovered by a woman whose dog picked up the deep biological scent.

Once again Earl Sanders had the duty of inspecting the body. The odor hit him first, and then he saw the bundle: it reminded him of the frozen turkeys the department handed out each Christmas. "It was like a fever hit me. I felt dizzy. Like there was no up or down, just gray everywhere I looked - clouds, sea, fog, everything. And right in the middle was this thing that had once been a man."

The body's head, hands, and feet had been chopped off, even its penis and scrotum. A deep hole had been gouged in the stomach, from which spilled ribbons of intestine as the plastic was pealed away. Sanders knew immediately that the same zealous rage that had taken the life of Quita Hague was responsible for the butchery before him. The police had no way of identifying the deconstructed human on the beach. They simply labeled him Unknown Body #169. Some cops called him the Christmas Turkey.
 
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