Police confirmed Tuesday a link between Clark Rockefeller, the Boston man who was sought after abducting his seven-year-old daughter, and a 23-year-old San Marino mystery, that included the discovery of bones buried in a backyard.
I’ve actually seen these bones — twice. The first time was shortly after they were discovered. I was on a tour of the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner and ended up interviewing a man named Steve Dowell, the sheriff’s tool mark expert.
Dowell, who works in a basement office at the coroner’s office keeps an interesting collection of bones and tools. The bones (at least a skull as I remember) excavated from Lorain Road were stored in a paper bag.
Dowell showed me the bones, explained where they were from and described the diffiiculty in confirming their identity. Apparently there was a Tongva Indian burial site near the location and early int he investigation there was some question if the bones were related to that or to the case of a couple who went missing in 1985. The couple was identified as John and Linda Sohus.
Then, in 2003, while working on a book about the coroner’s office, I returned to Dowell’s office and specifically asked him about the San Marino pool bones. He retrieved them and explained that they were likely of a recent vintage, but identifying how exactly the male died would be difficult.
Apparently the backhoe used in the pool excavation had destroyed the skull sufficiently that determining a cause of death would be nearly impossible.
Some questions I wish I had asked. What about dental records? What about DNA? I’m sure those questions are being asked now that Rockefeller, who used to be known as Christopher Chichester, is in custody in Boston.
Chichester was reportedly last seen in 1989 in Greenwich, Conn. He was stopped by police there driving a vehicle registered to John Sohus.