Authorities announced on Monday that they had completed digging up a car believed to have been buried 30 years ago in the backyard of a Northern California house, but had turned up no human remains.
The sacks of wasted concrete were found in a convertible Mercedes Benz by landscapers in the wealthy Silicon Valley suburb of Atherton last week. On three consecutive occasions, cadaver dogs alerted authorities to the presence of possible human remains, though only “slightly,” according to the statement released by police.
Atherton Police Cmdr. Daniel Larsen speculated that the canines’ reactions could have been triggered by a variety of items, including human remains, old bones, blood, vomit, or a mix of these.
“They are now undergoing a landscaping job, so the blood you see on the ground could have been spilled by a worker. Simply put, until we find out what the dogs are reacting to, we have no idea.” According to Larsen.
A tow truck arrived Saturday to haul the vehicle away from the house and deliver it to the San Mateo County Crime Lab for further examination and processing. The department reported that ground penetrating radar was deployed on Sunday to investigate the scene.
There was “nothing strange or suspicious” found throughout this investigation, and no bodies were found, it stated.
The department noted that their “on-scene investigation” was now complete.
The automobile was reported stolen from nearby Palo Alto in September 1992, but neither the owner nor any possible perpetrators have been identified by police. On Monday, the police department announced they would not be providing any further comment.
It is estimated by investigators that the vehicle was buried in the rear of the house between 4 and 5 feet (1.2 and 1.5 meters) deep sometime in the 1990s, before the current owners purchased the property.
There is a strong suspicion that the car’s likely owner is deceased, but Atherton police are awaiting confirmation from the DMV.
Although Johnny Lew built and lived in the house with his family in the 1990s, authorities are remaining tight-lipped about whether or not they believe the car was registered to him. Lew’s criminal record included homicide, attempted homicide, and insurance fraud.
Earlier today, KRON-TV reported that the car’s registration plate bears the name “Lew.”
Lew’s daughter Jacq Searle informed the San Francisco Chronicle that her father passed away in Washington state in 2015, a year after the family had sold the property.
During the late 1990s, Lew was jailed for insurance fraud after he allegedly hired undercover police officers to sink a $1.2 million boat “out west of the Golden Gate Bridge into international seas,” as reported by the newspaper.
Lew was convicted of murdering a 21-year-old Los Angeles County woman in the 1960s. In 1968, the California Supreme Court overturned his conviction, saying that the prosecution improperly used hearsay evidence. According to court documents obtained by the Chronicle, in 1977 Lew was convicted of two counts of attempted murder, also in Los Angeles County, and served three years in jail.
CBS Bay Area stated that residents of the wealthy hamlet on the northern fringe of Silicon Valley have taken notice of the recent activity and significant police presence.
“We need to know what’s in the automobile right now. I believe he buried the vehicle solely to collect the insurance payout “as my next-door neighbor Kathy Consani put it.
About 7,000 people call the almost 5 square mile area that is Atherton, California home. It is one of the wealthiest communities in the United States.