South San Francisco, CA February 25, 2016
PREFACE: An update to the Brisbane Police Departmentmissing person’s alert on February 18th has been made and we share it below. This is the original alert: The Brisbane Police Department is attempting to locate Shelly Carmichael Titchener. Titchener voluntarily left her home in Brisbane over the weekend and indicated she would be with a friend for a couple of days. She has not been in contact with her family and her current whereabouts are unknown. Follow-up on investigative leads/sightings indicate she was last seen by an acquaintance at Nordstrom’s in San Mateo on 2/15/16 and appeared to have been shopping.
February 22 Update: We still have not heard from Shelly Carmichael Titchener. Her status has been updated from Voluntarily Missing to Missing At Risk. If you see Shelly please ask her to call her family, they are very worried about her.
From Brisbane Police Department February 24, 2016
Suspicious Death Investigation Update
On Sunday, February 21, 2016, at 8:16 p.m., the Fremont Police Department responded to a call of human remains found by people fishing near the Dumbarton Pier. Officers arrived and located a torso of an unidentified female on a levee near the end of Marshlands Rd in Fremont. The arms, legs and head were severed from the torso. On Tuesday evening, during a subsequent search of the marshland area, detectives found what is believed to be additional evidence connected to this case. Some of the evidence located is being processed by Fremont Police Crime Scene Investigators and some was collected by the Alameda County Coroner’s Office. The identity of the female, as well as the cause and manner of death, have not been confirmed by the Alameda County Coroner’s Office.
Detectives have temporarily halted their search in the marshland area and are following up on investigative leads. Earlier this morning, with the cooperation of the Brisbane Police Department, a search was conducted at the home of missing person Shelly Titchener, 57, of Brisbane. Shelly Titchener, was reported missing to Brisbane Police on February 15, 2016. While we cannot confirm the body found is that of Shelly Titchener, we also cannot rule it out. In addition to the search, Brisbane and Fremont Police were notified by the California Highway Patrol that Paul Titchener, the missing woman’s husband, had committed suicide by jumping from the San Francisco Bay Bridge late Tuesday evening. The now deceased Paul Titchener was not named as a suspect, but was a person of interest.
While the circumstances of the case and the identity of the female remain under investigation, family members of the Titchener’s have been notified of the status our investigation. Fremont detectives are continuing to work with the Brisbane Police Department and the Alameda County Coroner’s Office on this case.
The following is from the Brisbane Police Department:
On Monday, February 15, 2016, the Brisbane Police Department received a report of a missing person. Paul Titchener reported that his wife, Shelly Titchener, had left the house on Saturday, February 13, 2016, to spend some time with an unidentified friend and failed to return as expected. Mr. Titchener told us that he was concerned as Shelly left home without her medication, cellphone, and had limited access to funds. There has been no history of domestic violence between the two and no evidence of foul play at that time.
The Brisbane Police Department launched an investigation to attempt to locate Shelly Titchener, following up on all available leads.
On Sunday, February 21, 2016, at 8:16 p.m., the Fremont Police Department responded to a call of human remains found by people fishing near the Dumbarton Pier. At that time there was no information leading either agency to believe that the remains were that of Shelly Titchener.
In the afternoon of Tuesday, February 23, 2016, during a subsequent search of the marshland area, Fremont Police Detectives found a purse and identification belonging to Shelly Titchener. While there was still no conclusive evidence that the remains were that of Shelly Titchener, we were contacted by the Fremont Police Department based on this new evidence. The Fremont and Brisbane police immediately began a joint investigation, with Fremont Police remaining as the lead agency.
Early Tuesday evening, a reporter contacted Paul Titchener about the remains found by Fremont Police trying to establish a connection between the remains and his missing wife.
Tuesday evening at approx. 9:00 PM, we were informed by the California Highway Patrol that Paul Titchener had committed suicide by jumping from the San Francisco Bay Bridge. The now deceased Paul Titchener was not named as a suspect, but was a person of interest.
On February 28, 2016, hikers located additional remains along the shoreline near the Dumbarton Bridge. With this new evidence, the Alameda County Coroner’s Office was able to positively identify the remains found on February 21, 2016 near the Dumbarton Pier as belonging to Shelly Titchener. The identification was made by a right thumbprint match to DMV records. Shelly’s head and left Leg were never recovered.
The following is based on information derived from the investigative efforts of both the Fremont and Brisbane Police Departments.
FEBRUARY 12, 2016
- Last day Shelly Titchener has been verified to have been alive
- Based on cell phone activity
- Shelly had spoken to a friend at approximately 6:13 PM
- Friend said Shelly sounded intoxicated
- There are 5 recordings of conversations between Shelly and Paul Titchener between 6:46 PM with the last conversation recorded at 7:58 PM.
- Paul Titchener made these recordings on his Google Voice account.
- The most significant conversation is at 7:22 PM which spans 5 minutes.
- Shelly sounded intoxicated. Her speech was slow, slurred, and her demeanor changes between sad, incoherent, and angry.
- Paul comments that he does not want to stay with Shelly when she is intoxicated.
- Paul comments that Shelly has thrown things at him in the past and told him that she wanted him to die.
- Paul repeats these comments approximately 5 times.
- Paul says he plans to stay at a hotel.
- Shelly states she needs a cable for her phone.
- Her contact list is on her phone.
- Paul says he’ll help Shelly cancel her appointments for the weekend and tell them she has the flu.
- Paul cancels Shelly’s appointment with the gardener for Saturday and a hair appointment for a client on Sunday.
- Based on cell phone activity
- THERE IS NO ACTIVITY ON SHELLY’S PHONE FROM THIS POINT FORWARD OR ANY VERIFIED SIGHITNG.
FERUARY 13, 2016
- At 12:00 AM, Paul makes a reservation through Priceline at a hotel in San Mateo
- Paul checks into the hotel at around 1:00 AM
- Paul purchases a template for a Will at rocketlawyer.com.
- Paul creates the Will, signs, and dates it as 13 day of February, 2016.
- Wording on the Will…
- ”failure of this Will to provide for any distribution to Shelly Carmichael Titchener is intentional.”
- “Shelly and I wish to be cremated and have our ashes scattered in the ocean.”
- A “miscellaneous accounts” document is uploaded on Paul Sr.’s Google Account that lists every account number/password such as mortgages, insurance, business information, etc.
- Paul Sr. transfers a substantial amount of money from his accounts into both son’s accounts.
FEBRUARY 14, 2016
- Paul Titchener creates an “untitled” Google document at 11:20 AM.
- The document contains account information and instructions.
- Includes mortgage account and instructions to make automatic payments and not be late.
- Life Insurance information and how much is to be paid out to each of the two children.
- Instructions for the older child to help his brother invest the money.
- Instructs the sons to call social security and “tell them we have both passed away.”
- Tells sons “Already distributed majority of funds into your savings accounts but I left enough to run the business.”
- Paul Sr. creates a Google document titled “Emergency Info” at 9:06 PM
- The “Emergency Info” documents appears to be the final draft of the “untitled document” as there are omissions and is created approximately 9 hours afterwards.
- The omissions are of the social security comment and the transfer of funds into the kids’ accounts.
- Paul Sr. reverses the transfer of money that he originally put in his kids’ accounts on 2/13/16.
FEBRUARY 15, 2016
- Paul Sr. reports Shelly missing to Brisbane Police at 5:33 PM.
FEBRUARY 16-19, 2016
- Brisbane Police follow-up on possible sightings and leads, interview friends, neighbors, etc.
FEBRUARY 19, 2016
- Family members express concerns about Paul Sr.’s story. They state that his statements are inconsistent and he appears to be hiding something.
- Brisbane Police re-interviews Paul Sr.
- Paul Sr. created a typed timeline to present to police.
- Timeline is written in the third person.
- Paul Sr. also created and presents a typed set of “notes” on what they’ve done to help find Shelly.
- The notes are written in the first person.
- Brisbane Police obtain consent to search Paul Sr.’s home and business as well as 3 other vehicles.
- Nothing of obvious evidentiary value was found.
FEBRUARY 21, 2016
- Discovery of an unidentified female torso in Fremont.
February 23, 2016
- Discovery of a leg found in Fremont in the same general area as the torso
- Discovery of a purse containing Shelly Titchener’s identification also found in the same general area.
- Paul Sr. was contacted by the media about torso located in Fremont trying to establish that it may be the remains of Shelly.
- Fremont Police and Brisbane Police coordinate efforts in attempting to identify the torso as Shelly Titchener.
- Paul Sr. provides inaccurate information about one of Shelly’s tattoos to police.
- Paul Sr. commits suicide at approximately 9:00 PM by jumping off the San Francisco Bay Bridge.
- Shelly’s tattoo was later identified as the same as on the torso through a sketch shown to one of the sons.
FEBRUARY 24, 2016
- Fremont and Brisbane Police serve search warrants at the Paul Titchener’s business and home in Brisbane.
FEBRUARY 25, 2016
- Brisbane Police take over as lead investigating agency.
FEBRUARY 28, 2016
- Discovery of the arms in Fremont.
- Remains identified as Shelly by DMV fingerprint.
- As of this date, no other remains have been located.
ADDITIONAL OPINIONS AND CONCLUSIONS:
SIGHTINGS OF SHELLY TICHENER
- A neighbor reported seeing Shelly on the 15th. In follow-up interviews with the family, Paul Sr. dismissed the sighting of Shelly by a neighbor on 2/15/16. He informed his sons to stay away from the neighbor and discounted her as unreliable. We believe that this witness was mistaken about the date and time as there is circumstantial evidence that Shelly had already been murdered prior to that date.
- It was reported to us that Shelly was seen at Nordstrom’s on February 15th. The investigation into the Nordstrom’s sighting determined that Shelly was at the store on the 10th, not the 15th, as originally reported by the witness. This information was verified through surveillance video.
The scene of the homicide has not been located. There is no forensic evidence to conclude that the homicide took place at their home, Paul’s business or any of their vehicles.
- Shelly’s toxicology report indicates her blood alcohol level to be at 0.22 at the time of death.
- A black duffel bag in which remains were located in has been positively identified by the sons as a bag they used to use when they were younger to haul sports equipment in.
- The second duffel bag in which another set remains were located has been tentatively identified by the sons as likely belonging to their mother.
- An analysis of the water currents in the Bay at the time of the homicide indicate a likelihood that the duffle bags were deposited in the bay either in South San Francisco or near the area where they were located in Fremont.
- There is no LPR data showing any of the Titchener Vehicles in Fremont or any area that is contrary to Paul Titchener’s statements to police.
- Cell phone location data is consistent with Paul Titchener’s statements with police.
- There is a lack of cell phone data on Sunday the 14th as if the phone had been turned off.
INVOLVEMENT BY OTHERS
It is our opinion that Paul Titchener acted alone. There is no evidence or communications between any other persons to indicate that anyone else assisted or knew about the homicide.
CAUSE OF DEATH
Exact cause of death has not been determined. There were no other signs of trauma to the remains that were recovered. Shelly’s blood alcohol level was .22BA and there were no other known poisons or drugs in her system.
We believe that the motive behind this homicide is a culmination of stress surrounding financial issues and Shelly’s alcohol abuse.
Paul and Shelly had been married 24 years at the time of this case. However, they had lived apart on and off for most of their marriage. Shelly had an ongoing issue with alcohol abuse. When intoxicated, Shelly had been known to be verbally abusive to both Paul and their children. The police department had been called to the home on several occasions as a result of these disturbances. In 2001, Paul filed for divorce and custody of their children. However, the divorce was never finalized. Shelly’s issues with alcohol had also caused financial problems. Approx. 4 years ago, Paul had decided to move back into the garage of the home in order to save money that could be used for their son’s education. We believe that Paul and Shelly’s living under the same roof put an additional strain on their relationship.
- The Brisbane Police Department believes that Paul Titchener killed his wife on the evening of Friday the 12th. This is based on the telephone conversation recording between Paul and Shelly at 7:58 PM where Paul indicates that he would go to the house to bring her a cell phone cable. This voice recording of Shelly is the last evidence of her being alive.
- We do not believe that the murder was premeditated. Either out of remorse or the belief that he would be identified as the killer, we believe that Paul intended on committing suicide shortly after the killing. This opinion is based on Paul drafting a will in the early morning hours of the 13th, the money transferred to the son’s accounts and the “Untitled” document created at 11:20 AM on the 14th.
- We believe Paul changed his mind about committing suicide after formulating a plan to dispose of the body and report her missing. This opinion is based on Paul reversing the deposits that were made to the son’s accounts on the 13th and the document created on the 14th at 9:06 PM where he omits any reference to both their deaths.
- We believe that Paul disposed of Shelly’s body between Sunday morning and when he reported her missing. This is based on time frames where his whereabouts are unknown.