Homeowner Found Bones In His Backyard 10 Years Ago But Never Called Police
A man was apparently unsurprised when authorities showed up with a cadaver dog to check his backyard for human remains because he had found two bones several years ago—and never called the police.
Wednesday night, homicide detectives received an anonymous tip that a body had been buried in the backyard of a particular home in the 600 block of South Center Street in Santa Ana about 30 to 32 years ago, Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna told LAist. So, investigators contacted the homeowner who surprised them by saying, he assumed they would show up some day.
The homeowner explained that he had moved onto the property about 15 years ago. About a decade ago, he hired some workers to fix up his backyard. The workers found two bones, possibly human, "that appeared to be leg bones from the knee down," Bertagna said.
The workers also discovered a knife. They threw the bones and the knife away, then proceeded with their job, covering the backyard with six inches of cement.
Investigators returned on Thursday morning with the sheriff's cadaver dog without telling the dog's handler where to look. The dog gave a "preliminary hit" on the same area where the homeowner told investigators the bones had been found. Investigators contacted fire department and their heavy rescue department, who drilled holes into the cement to allow it to air out. Authorities will return later with the dog and if they get a second hit, they'll remove the cement and search further.
It is not clear why the homeowner did not immediately tell authorities about the bones, but he has been cooperative with their investigation thus far, ABC 7 reports. He also did not live at the home at the time when the supposed burying would have occurred, according to the tip.
Detectives are now looking to see who owned the house 30 years ago, if they had a criminal record, and if there any missing people who disappeared around that time and have not been found.
In 2013, the owners of another Santa Ana house discovered human bones while landscaping. Authorities later arrested a man who had once lived on the property and accused him of burying his father in the backyard, and then embezzling his deceased father's Social Security checks over a period of several years. It was ultimately determined that the man's father died of natural causes, and the man was sentenced to six years for embezzlement, forgery and identify theft.