Paper Reports 6 Officers May Be Tied to Slaying


Sept 30, 1990  New York Times

Detectives looking into the slayings of 43 women here are investigating up to six current and former police officers who may be linked to one of the slayings and the disappearance of a prostitute, according to a newspaper report.

Investigators last week searched the home, car and police locker of Sgt. Alfonso Salvatierra for evidence in the 1986 disappearance of Cynthia Lynn Maine, a prostitute who was a police informer, the officer’s lawyer said.

They recovered numerous photographs, including sexually explicit photos of Ms. Maine, The San Diego Union, which did not identify its sources, reported Wednesday. Sergeant Salvatierra was not available for comment, but his lawyer, Everett Bobbitt, said the sergeant consented to the search and nothing was found to implicate him in Ms. Maine’s disappearance.

Sergeant Salvatierra, a former homicide detective most recently assigned to internal affairs, was reassigned Tuesday to a research and planning division pending the inquiry’s outcome, the newspaper said. #5 Others Under Investigation Detectives are also investigating up to five other current and former San Diego police officers who might be linked to Ms. Maine’s disappearance or to the murder of Donna Gentile, one of her friends, The Union reported. Ms. Gentile was the first known victim in a series of slayings that began in 1985. Most of the victims were prostitutes, whose bodies were found in remote parts of San Diego County.

Ms. Maine disappeared eight months after Ms. Gentile, another prostitute and police informer, was found slain in eastern San Diego County in 1985.

Ms. Gentile’s death occurred shortly after she testified before a city commission about police misconduct. Stones were packed in her mouth, leading detectives to suggest she had been killed because of her testimony.

The Union said surveillance had been conducted on several officers and they might be put under further investigation by the Metropolitan Homicide Task Force, which is trying to determine if the killings were related to possible police corruption.

Inquiry Began Months Ago

The authorities eventually expect to examine several officers who could be linked to some of the killings of 43 women, the newspaper said. Both Ms. Maine and Ms. Gentile were socially involved with at least one member of the San Diego police force.

”I can tell you that we are looking into the disappearance of Cynthia Maine,” Deputy District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, a task force member, said Tuesday. The investigation began several months ago, she added, declining to provide further details.

Ms. Maine, the daughter of a former San Diego police officer, was sent to jail in September 1985 for writing bad checks. While there, she agreed to provide information against several police officers in exchange for early release, her sister, Lori Helle, has said.estigation began several months ago, she added, declining to provide further details.