Julie Stalmer 6:30 p.m., July 23
San Diego Ad Writer Helps Locate Wanted Murderers
Sometimes it takes a citizen with initiative, intelligence, and a Kinko's account.
James Spring, an advertising writer and freelance radio reporter in San Diego, was the driving force behind the April 7 arrest of two wanted killers living the fugitive life in Baja California.
Richard Carelli and girlfriend Michele Pinkerton, both 38, were wanted for the odd murder of their roommate, Leonard Milo Hoskins, 49. This happened in late December. Hoskins' body rotted and decayed in Carelli's van at a San Francisco impound yard after it was towed away in January. Police never knew there was a dead body in it; the case made national news and was an embarrassment for the SFPD.
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The embarrassment is called for. This is what happened:
SFPD took custody of Carelli's van January 24. A neighbor reported that on December 22 he had witnessed Carelli hit Hoskins over the head with what appeared to be a piece of lumber and move Hoskins’ body into the van. The neighbor stated Carelli later “emerged covered in blood.” SFPD took the van after cadaver dogs responded to it.
Carelli and Pinkerton were not detained or questioned at the time. The van was stored in an impound yard; authorities did not search the vehicle until February 1. They discovered, with much surprise, Hoskins' badly decomposed body in the back.
By that time, Carelli and Pinkerton had left their home and the country.
James Spring heard a news item that the couple had possibly been “seen” in El Rosario in Baja. He found it uncanny that no arrest had been made; he knew the area well and knew two Americans like them would be noticed by the locals.
Spring took it upon himself to run off 2,500 flyers at a San Diego Kinko’s, costing $150 out of his pocket, with Carelli and Pinkerton’s pictures. He placed the flyers around the Baja town. Quickly, the locals knew who and where they were (Pinkerton was giving dance lessons to local children for $1 an hour) and Mexican officials arrested them and have handed them over to U.S. authorities for extradition.
Spring, the ad man turned amateur sleuth, returned home to write copy for Lloyd’s Pest Control.
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