Forum Question about a Skull Discovery Leads to Officer’s Response

When Mono and Mammoth police, sheriff and CHP officers held a candidates forum, one of the anonymous questions criticized how the Sheriff’s Department handled the 2008 discovery of a skull outside Mammoth Lakes. Sheriff’s Lieutenant Rob Weber has now responded.

The Candidates Forum question alleged that officers performed limited investigative work and assumed it was the skull of a suicide victim in Mammoth. The questioner alleged failure to do an extensive search of the crime scene and failure to identify the skull.

Lt. Weber said that a Bishop man had killed himself and his remains were found in the spring in Mammoth Lakes. His head was not recovered. Officers believed that the skull discovery some time later, less than a mile away, likely belonged to the suicide victim.

Lt. Weber said that the skull was not sent to a forensic lab for DNA identification because officers had no DNA for comparison. Weber said the man’s wife took her own life six months after his suicide and attempts to contact the man’s children have not succeeded. The Lieutenant said the Sheriff’s Office has sent certified mail and made phone calls to the man’s daughter with no response. He said there are no other relatives for DNA comparison.

Weber said he believes the search of the area where the skull was found was done well. He said deputies searched the area and Paul Dostie and his cadaver dog, Buster, also searched.

At the Candidates Forum, Sheriff Scholl said he heard the case was resolved and the investigation complete. Scholl said, “I don’t take anything lightly. I hope we would do a complete investigation.”

Challenger Officer Doug Northington said the Sheriff’s Office should “follow leads and do a thorough investigation, including a DNA analysis.”

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