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El Cajon Olaf Weighorst forgeries, Reader author's parents killed

Cali cartel smuggler on Harbor Drive, postal detectives busy in San Diego, robbery part of Mission Beach life, my crimes started in O.B., Teamster leader killed, the Amanda Gaeke mystery

Detail from Salt River Canyon. Wieghorst sold paintings to  John Wayne, Roy Rogers, and Gene Autry. Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan bought his work, and  Barry Goldwater wrote the foreword to the only biography written about him.
Detail from Salt River Canyon. Wieghorst sold paintings to John Wayne, Roy Rogers, and Gene Autry. Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan bought his work, and Barry Goldwater wrote the foreword to the only biography written about him.

Bushwhacked

We look at a Wieghorst painting called Spring Rain, a dark, impressionistic work, one of about a dozen Wieghorsts on the walls. Thackeray can remember when Wieghorst painted it. “It was raining cats and dogs, and he couldn’t sleep. So he got up and started that painting. He called me up and said, ‘George, come on over. I want to show you something.’ So I went over, and there it was.”

By Phyllis Orrick, Jan. 25, 1996 | Read full article

Melvin and Katherine Heine's home. We ran upstairs to see our parents being carried from their house on stretchers. They were covered by a sheet, and their house was cordoned off with yellow tape.

This Is the Way It Happened

We bought a big dog and we fortified ourselves with weapons and people. My sister Karen left her family in New Hampshire and came to stay with us for more than a month. My younger brother Mel moved his family from Denver into our house. We sat on the front porch and smoked and waited for the police, waited for answers, waited for chaos to subside, for logic and order to return.

By Susan Luzzaro, July 8, 1999 | Read full article

Manuel Rodríguez-López and family. Rodríguez-López was not a known entity in either the La Paz or Ensenada area at all. He came out of nowhere and spent millions of dollars buying ships and outfitting ships.

Drug Runners Hideaway

“He wants you to try to accept his story that he's but a poor fisherman and give him this condo. You're going to hear from special DEA agents Jim Nims and Kelly Rae, who met with Manuel Rodríguez-López in prison in La Paz, and you're going to hear how Manuel Rodríguez-López subsequently called them on the phone and offered to cooperate with the U.S. government against the Arellano-Félix brothers. You'll hear that from the agents themselves."

By Matt Potter, Feb. 25, 1999 | Read full article

David Fast: “See that big wall safe there? It’s full of marijuana. We keep it as evidence, then it’s taken out and burned somewhere in an open pit up near Long Beach."

San Diego: Mail-Theft Capital

“I think Rancho Peñasquitos someplace. It’s about 6:15 in the evening, he’s driving along, and he sees a female letter-carrier opening a collection box. He thinks, ‘Gee, it’s a little late for this run. That box should have been tapped a couple of hours ago. Oh, well, they’re running behind.’ But then he realized there wasn’t a postal truck anywhere to be seen. So he pulls up and starts making small talk with the woman.”

By Linda Nevin, Jan 27, 2000 | Read full article

Left to right: Buz Rahe, Cindy Francisco, Donald DeBlasio. According to DeBlasio, the population density in Mission and Pacific Beach is similar to much of New York. But the SDPD "doesn't want to put the cops out there.

Fatal Shore

The phone call about a possible lineup intrigued Cullen, because it came only days after police arrested Darius Days and Calvin Pearce, both 18, on suspicion of murdering SDSU student Paul Mefford on El Carmel Point in Mission Bay earlier in the summer. At the time of his killing, Mefford had been trying to retrieve his bicycle from the bed of a departing pickup. The murder occurred not more than 200 yards from the site of Cullen's robbery.

By Joe Deegan, Nov. 21, 2002 | Read full article

I ran out of the swap meet, down into a shopping center. They shot at me three times, but I ran, and I ended up standing next to the lemon in Lemon Grove,

My Life of Crime

I married my third wife in ’78. She was pregnant. We went to the swap meet in Spring Valley, and I was doin’ dealings for some turquoise rings, and I looked up and there was an AB member, and one on each side a few yards away. I recognized these guys instantly. So I knew that if I didn’t get away, I was gonna die. I told my wife to go get in my truck.

By X, Oct. 9, 1986 | Read full article

Coroner's photograph of Rodger Whitehead. Will reached through the open driver’s side window to shake him, and Rodger’s whole body moved. Rigor mortis.

Who Killed Rodger Whitehead?

“We’d gotten flyers about some people tryingbush to organize and take over the union,” Nageotte recalls. “I was pretty disenchanted with the union myself — the rank and file hated the union management — but at first I thought, this is just another group of people who wanted to rip us off. But other guys went to a meeting and came back and said, ‘Hey, you oughta meet these guys. They’re for real.’”

By Neal Matthews, June 7, 1990 | Read full article

Cynthia, 1985. “They were at my mom’s house, and Steve went into the bathroom. He didn’t come out and didn’t come out, and so Cindy knocked on the door."

Yellow Roses

I wanted to know what caused Cynthia Lou McVey to climb into that Ford van, and what really happened to Cynthia Lynn Maine, why Buzzard Stevens stuffed blue socks into McVey’s mouth, or why this someone I tried to conjure in my mind’s eye crammed rocks down Donna Gentile’s throat. I thought how excruciatingly painful the rocks would be, shoved past the mouth, teeth, a resistant tongue. I hoped Donna Gentile was already dead when that happened.

By Judith Moore, Jan. 10, 1991 | Read full article

In the aftermath of her murder, the fence along the canyon where Amanda was found became a memorial.

Something of an Angel

“She was having a problem,” Price sighs deeply as if this issue still concerns her, “with patience and concentration. We almost thought that somebody was molesting her before they killed her. That could have been a possibility. Her behavior the last two weeks before she died...maybe it was a premonition that something bad was going to happen to her — but her behavior was very different than normal. That’s why I made an appointment at Kaiser.”

By John Brizzolora, March 2, 1995 | Read full article

Author's former apartment at 3090 Redwood. I knelt down and pulled forward a suitcase. I opened it. The battered 1950s-style luggage was filled with bloodstained clothing I recognized as David’s.

Amanda Gaeke: the Guy Who Killed Her and the Guy Who Didn't

The first thing I did was call the cops and tell them about this. I spoke to Sgt. Furtak, who asked me to repeat C.P.’s name several times as if he were writing it down. He seemed unfamiliar with the name. He then asked me to fax him the letter. I did. Immediately. Other reporters might chide me for doing so, but this letter made me nervous, though much of it was so vague it lacked credibility.

By John Brizzolara, Jan 22, 1998 | Read full article

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The best doctor: dancing at Plaza de Reyes in Old Town

“I said to my pal, ‘I’m going to dance with that girl, and then I’m going to marry her.’”
Detail from Salt River Canyon. Wieghorst sold paintings to  John Wayne, Roy Rogers, and Gene Autry. Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan bought his work, and  Barry Goldwater wrote the foreword to the only biography written about him.
Detail from Salt River Canyon. Wieghorst sold paintings to John Wayne, Roy Rogers, and Gene Autry. Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan bought his work, and Barry Goldwater wrote the foreword to the only biography written about him.

Bushwhacked

We look at a Wieghorst painting called Spring Rain, a dark, impressionistic work, one of about a dozen Wieghorsts on the walls. Thackeray can remember when Wieghorst painted it. “It was raining cats and dogs, and he couldn’t sleep. So he got up and started that painting. He called me up and said, ‘George, come on over. I want to show you something.’ So I went over, and there it was.”

By Phyllis Orrick, Jan. 25, 1996 | Read full article

Melvin and Katherine Heine's home. We ran upstairs to see our parents being carried from their house on stretchers. They were covered by a sheet, and their house was cordoned off with yellow tape.

This Is the Way It Happened

We bought a big dog and we fortified ourselves with weapons and people. My sister Karen left her family in New Hampshire and came to stay with us for more than a month. My younger brother Mel moved his family from Denver into our house. We sat on the front porch and smoked and waited for the police, waited for answers, waited for chaos to subside, for logic and order to return.

By Susan Luzzaro, July 8, 1999 | Read full article

Manuel Rodríguez-López and family. Rodríguez-López was not a known entity in either the La Paz or Ensenada area at all. He came out of nowhere and spent millions of dollars buying ships and outfitting ships.

Drug Runners Hideaway

“He wants you to try to accept his story that he's but a poor fisherman and give him this condo. You're going to hear from special DEA agents Jim Nims and Kelly Rae, who met with Manuel Rodríguez-López in prison in La Paz, and you're going to hear how Manuel Rodríguez-López subsequently called them on the phone and offered to cooperate with the U.S. government against the Arellano-Félix brothers. You'll hear that from the agents themselves."

By Matt Potter, Feb. 25, 1999 | Read full article

David Fast: “See that big wall safe there? It’s full of marijuana. We keep it as evidence, then it’s taken out and burned somewhere in an open pit up near Long Beach."

San Diego: Mail-Theft Capital

“I think Rancho Peñasquitos someplace. It’s about 6:15 in the evening, he’s driving along, and he sees a female letter-carrier opening a collection box. He thinks, ‘Gee, it’s a little late for this run. That box should have been tapped a couple of hours ago. Oh, well, they’re running behind.’ But then he realized there wasn’t a postal truck anywhere to be seen. So he pulls up and starts making small talk with the woman.”

By Linda Nevin, Jan 27, 2000 | Read full article

Left to right: Buz Rahe, Cindy Francisco, Donald DeBlasio. According to DeBlasio, the population density in Mission and Pacific Beach is similar to much of New York. But the SDPD "doesn't want to put the cops out there.

Fatal Shore

The phone call about a possible lineup intrigued Cullen, because it came only days after police arrested Darius Days and Calvin Pearce, both 18, on suspicion of murdering SDSU student Paul Mefford on El Carmel Point in Mission Bay earlier in the summer. At the time of his killing, Mefford had been trying to retrieve his bicycle from the bed of a departing pickup. The murder occurred not more than 200 yards from the site of Cullen's robbery.

By Joe Deegan, Nov. 21, 2002 | Read full article

I ran out of the swap meet, down into a shopping center. They shot at me three times, but I ran, and I ended up standing next to the lemon in Lemon Grove,

My Life of Crime

I married my third wife in ’78. She was pregnant. We went to the swap meet in Spring Valley, and I was doin’ dealings for some turquoise rings, and I looked up and there was an AB member, and one on each side a few yards away. I recognized these guys instantly. So I knew that if I didn’t get away, I was gonna die. I told my wife to go get in my truck.

By X, Oct. 9, 1986 | Read full article

Coroner's photograph of Rodger Whitehead. Will reached through the open driver’s side window to shake him, and Rodger’s whole body moved. Rigor mortis.

Who Killed Rodger Whitehead?

“We’d gotten flyers about some people tryingbush to organize and take over the union,” Nageotte recalls. “I was pretty disenchanted with the union myself — the rank and file hated the union management — but at first I thought, this is just another group of people who wanted to rip us off. But other guys went to a meeting and came back and said, ‘Hey, you oughta meet these guys. They’re for real.’”

By Neal Matthews, June 7, 1990 | Read full article

Cynthia, 1985. “They were at my mom’s house, and Steve went into the bathroom. He didn’t come out and didn’t come out, and so Cindy knocked on the door."

Yellow Roses

I wanted to know what caused Cynthia Lou McVey to climb into that Ford van, and what really happened to Cynthia Lynn Maine, why Buzzard Stevens stuffed blue socks into McVey’s mouth, or why this someone I tried to conjure in my mind’s eye crammed rocks down Donna Gentile’s throat. I thought how excruciatingly painful the rocks would be, shoved past the mouth, teeth, a resistant tongue. I hoped Donna Gentile was already dead when that happened.

By Judith Moore, Jan. 10, 1991 | Read full article

In the aftermath of her murder, the fence along the canyon where Amanda was found became a memorial.

Something of an Angel

“She was having a problem,” Price sighs deeply as if this issue still concerns her, “with patience and concentration. We almost thought that somebody was molesting her before they killed her. That could have been a possibility. Her behavior the last two weeks before she died...maybe it was a premonition that something bad was going to happen to her — but her behavior was very different than normal. That’s why I made an appointment at Kaiser.”

By John Brizzolora, March 2, 1995 | Read full article

Author's former apartment at 3090 Redwood. I knelt down and pulled forward a suitcase. I opened it. The battered 1950s-style luggage was filled with bloodstained clothing I recognized as David’s.

Amanda Gaeke: the Guy Who Killed Her and the Guy Who Didn't

The first thing I did was call the cops and tell them about this. I spoke to Sgt. Furtak, who asked me to repeat C.P.’s name several times as if he were writing it down. He seemed unfamiliar with the name. He then asked me to fax him the letter. I did. Immediately. Other reporters might chide me for doing so, but this letter made me nervous, though much of it was so vague it lacked credibility.

By John Brizzolara, Jan 22, 1998 | Read full article

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