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Man souaSht in case of San Marino bones
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Police say missing renter's not a suspect but he may have important mformatio
^Bernice Sadamune lemice
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F STAFF WRITER
SAN MARINO — He surfaces in affluent towns, talks his way into high society by joining a good church, then suddenly disappears. Police said Christopher Crowe Mount Batten Chichester doesn't take his wealthy new friends for much. Just a few nice dinners and perhaps a little of their innocence for buying into his fantastic stories. But he took something of great value to police when he suddenly left San Marino nine years ago — an account of what were probably the last days of a murdered man's life. Chichester is the missing renter who lived at the Lorain Road
home where pool workers unearthed a human skeleton May 5. After two months of pursuing mostly dead-ends, investigators think he may hold the key to breaking the case. "He is the last person known to have associated with the victim up to the time of the disappearance," said Sheriffs Homicide Detective Bob Carr, who is handling the case. "He is not a suspect," Cansaid. "However, it is crucial that we talk with him." Police believe the skeleton is that of John Sohus, who was last seen in February 1985. Chichester rented the guest house behind the main house, where Sohus lived with his wife, Linda, and late
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ERE IS HE?
R About 34 years old, about 5 feet 8 inches tall, 150 to 160 pounds, thinning brown or blond hair. ! : ,/.:: ,,: • ! , 1 1 1 , -.;• , , S Aliases: Christopher Crowe; Chris Chichester; Christopher Crowe Mount Batten Chichester; Christian Gerhartsreiter. H A transient socialite who dressed well and told sometimes unbelievable tales. If you have information about his whereabouts, call Sheriff's Homicide Detective Robert Carr at (818) 890-5500.
Missing renter sought by police
Continued from Al JUL 0^1994
SUNDAY, JULY 3, ]
WHERE ARE THEY?
• Would now be 36 years old today, 5 feet 7 inches tall, 130 to 150 pounds, brown hair. •Computer programmer, fan of
JOHN SOHUS 1K
mother, Ruth "Didi" Sohus. According to a missing person's report filed by Ruth Sohus, John and Linda vanished Feb. 8, 1985. Chichester suddenly left the guest house two ; months later. ; ^' Police hope by releasing a photo and a list of frequently used aliases, somebody will step forward to help find the elusive Chris Chichester. The investigation began May 5, when construction workers building a pool uncovered remains of a body that had been dismembered and placed in three plastic bags. Coroner's investigators have not been able to positively identify the skeleton, said Coroner's Office spokesman Scott Carrier. Investigators have concluded, however, that the skeleton is that of a male. . Investigators estimate the man was shorter than average, about 5-foot-7, which fits John Sohus' description, police said. Identification is hampered because John Sohus' only known dental X-rays were taken when he was a child. Neither Linda nor John have been seen since 1985. Family members said they received postcards from Paris signed by Linda Sohus some time after the couple disappeared. Police have not been able to verify the signature because they lack samples of Linda Sohus' writing. Investigators may be far from cracking the mysterious case, but they have reported several puzzling developments. Detectives couldn't recall the exact year, but in the late 1980s, police in Greenwich, Conn., Found Chichester driving a 1985 Nissan pickup truck. It turned 3uf to be registered to John Soaus. But by the time the Department of Motor Vehicles realized :he truck belonged to a missing person, Chichester had left the sirea. Investigators would not "eveal any other details about lis encounter with Greenwich xriice. 7'' < ,•
science fiction and fantasy.
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UNDA SOHUS, formerly Unda Mayfield. • Would now be 37 years old, 6'1 feet tall, 200 pounds, red hair. • Accomplished fantasy-genre • 1 11
JOHN AND LINDA SOHUS toast their HaUoween wedding. The nian on the right is unidentified.
Chichester had been living for a year in the affluent suburb near New York City. Greenwich police worked hard to track him down, but he didn't even show up for work, Carr said. The car also vanished. Police also found evidence of foul play in the San Marino guest house where Chichester lived, but Carr would not disclose any further details, r ^ , ; a Chichester became friends with several San Marino residents through Church of Our Savior in San Gabriel. He was described by acquaintances as well-groomed and charming, with reserved, English-like manners. Some say he spoke with a slight English accent. ; Former Councilwoman Susie Crowell remembered Chichester with a paint roller in his hand. He was one of about 300 volunteers who worked on and off for a year in 1984 to paint San Marino High School. "He seemed like a nice young man," she said. After he left, Chichester occasionally telephoned a few friends. He even visited in 1987 for what he said was a nearby job interview. Chichester passed himself off as a computer expert, film producer or stock broker. He even found jobs in these fields. He told some friends that his father was a lawyer specializing in international law and his mother was an architect. Other times, they were archaeologists on extended digs in Pakistan and Turkey. He told a friend on the East Coast that his father was a British aristocrat, and his mother a silent film actress suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Chichester may not even have a high school education, but he is an excellent talker, Carr said: During three weeks of interviewing people in the New England states and the Midwest, Carr came to see how anyone could be taken in by him. • ! '^^s^ . . ' "Chris Chichester dressed well and was articulate and
If you have information about their whereabouts, call Sheriff's Homicide Detective Robert Carr at (818) 890-5500.
Throughout his travels,
knowledgeable about whatev subject he happened to be tal ing about at the time," he sai "He's a very interesting chan ter." Chichester was not Britis Police believe he came from a other Western European natio He entered the United States a teen-ager in the late 70s. I took classes at the University Wisconsin, and got marrie probably to solidify his imn gration status. In what wou become his modus operandi, \ suddenly disappeared. Chichester may hold one the last keys left to solving tl case, Carr said. Police have e hausted other leads, and cann determine a motive. There wei no large sums of money or the of property involved. If anyone knows of Chiche ter's whereabouts, Carr hopes l get a call soon. For now, he's still on the Si hus case. But a crush of gan, and drug-related homicide threaten to distract him and hi partner. Said Carr: "We're runnin against the clock."