The father of one of the victims in a 2006 triple homicide in Pinyon Pines remains unsatisfied with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department investigation of the crime.
The night of Sept. 17, 2006, Becky Friedli, 18; her mother, Vickie Friedli, 53; and Vickie’s boyfriend, Jon Hayward, 55, were found dead. Becky’s body was found burning in a wheelbarrow outside the house. The other bodies were found inside the burning home.
Ron Friedli, Becky’s father and Vickie’s ex-husband, is requesting a new investigation of the crime to be led by officials from a sheriff’s department from another county, such as San Bernardino, San Diego or Los Angeles.
No arrests or charges have been filed in the more than seven years since the crime, and Friedli remains unconvinced the investigation has been adequate. Luis A. Bolañas, a private investigator who has been involved for more than a year and half, agrees with Friedli.
“It’s one of the sloppiest investigations I’ve ever seen,” Bolañas said.
More than a year ago, the Sheriff’s Department told KMIR, NBC in Palm Springs that an arrest would be imminent. Nothing has occurred during the interim, and Friedli and Bolañas held another press conference last week urging the Sheriff’s Department and the district attorney to turn the investigation over to an outside agency.
One of Friedli’s concerns is that several of the investigators on the case, including the original lead investigator, were close friends and colleagues of his. He retired, as a lieutenant, from the Riverside County Sheriff’s department after 26 years before 2006.
“There’s at least seven direct conflicts between Friedli’s family and persons of interest in this investigation,” Bolañas claims. If someone were charged, they are afraid these relationships may help the defense dismiss the case.
In response to a question about the case, John Hall, senior public information specialist for the District Attorney’s office, issued the following statement, “This is a very serious case and we are handling it the same way we would any homicide case once it is submitted to us by the investigating law enforcement agency for potential prosecution.
“This case has been submitted to us for only a relatively short amount of time. Before a decision is made in any case to file criminal charges, we must believe that we can prove that case beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. This office is required to protect the integrity of the investigation and case as best we possibly can and are doing so in this case.
“After the case was submitted to this office for review, there was additional investigation we believed needed to be done, and we are actively doing that follow-up. Regarding the belief of a potential conflict, we are sensitive and cognizant to that and are in the process of speaking with the state Attorney General’s Office for their advice and opinion in that regard.
“The investigation in this case is ongoing and currently no charges have been filed. Therefore, there will be no further comment on this matter at this time.”
Another concern Friedli and Bolañas expressed is the apparent knowledge of the crime that an ex-boyfriend of Becky’s had on the morning after the murders. Both men said they could think of only three ways this person could have this information: 1) He may have been present and saw it, but not necessarily involved; 2) the person who did commit the crime told this person; or 3) one of the sheriff’s investigators shared too much information with this person of interest.
“Regardless, these are details people outside law enforcement shouldn’t have,” Friedli stressed. Friedli and Bolañas are aware of this person’s knowledge because they said the person called the Palm Desert Denny’s where Becky worked the morning after the murders and told the manager why Becky would not be at work.
According to Friedli, the Sheriff’s Department says it has cleared this person. Subsequently, Bolañas says that office no longer classifies the person as “a person of interest.” But he believes there is evidence still to collect. “This isn’t 2020 CSI stuff. It’s boots-on-the-ground and knock on doors and interview obvious people.”