Dateline   |  April 17, 2013

April 17: 'Behind Closed Doors', Part 2

John Sohus’ remains are found buried in the back yard of his home in San Marino.  This missing persons case has now become a murder investigation

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> told his mother a crazy story that it was a secret job that had taken them away to france. postcards started arriving. sue got one of them.

>> i said, answers.

>> maybe she had been wrong to worry. maybe john's mother had been right all along.

>> i just thought, she's off somewhere weird for whatever reason. i kind of played with the idea of witness protection .

>> the postcard suggested that john and linda were gone voluntarily, no foul play. then john's mother suddenly changed her tune.

>> in july of 1985 , didi calls the police, and now she's distraug distraught.

>> distraught because her guest house tenant had moved out without a word, and as she now explained, he was the one telling her secrets behind closed doors . it turned out it was chris chichester , the very man who went to the door in the nude and had nothing to say had all along been feeding her information.

>> was she concerned the man in the guest house was involved in what happened to her son?

>> she didn't know. she was just concerned the only person she was contacting them through was missing now too. she was concerned because she had no way to contact her son.

>> the guest house tenant, a source about a secret government mission? chichester 's friends around san marino back then might have just thought it was another one of his fantastical stories. lisa gallegos and dana fer ar knew chichester as an eccentric character.

>> he was funny.

>> he was very interesting to talk to on many subjects. he knew a lot about things. he was witty. it was a lot of fun to hang out with him.

>> a film student at usc, he told dana , often walking around campus with a script or two under his arm.

>> we'd go to old films together. we'd talk about films.

>> one of the films you saw together was " double indemnity ," about a guy the ploiplotting a murder.

>> good-bye, baby.

>> this is the best movie, dana . we have to go see " double indemnity ."

>> he was a minor british royal, a baronet, said the business card he handed out around san marino .

>> what do you think a baronet was?

>> that's the funny part. i had no idea.

>> she didn't question it, and neither did worry woods.

>> he said he was here by himself, didn't really have a family, said he was from england and was the descendant of royalty from england .

>> cory and her family were thoroughly impressed by the young aristocrat. he would dazzle them with stories after their church services .

>> he bought a castle in england , and he wanted to ship it over here brick by brick so he could have an authentic english chapel.

>> the charming young brit also became the resident raconteur, sometimes hosting parties at lorraine row, oddly while he lived in the guest house . dana said he seemed to have run of the entire party.

>> i said to him, why do you keep going in your landlord's house, chris? it just seemed so off. he said -- i remember this so well. he said, oh, they're away. they will not mind.

>> and, of course, they, john and linda , were away with only drunker didi isolated in the main house. and after chichester the tenant left, she was an old woman racked by loneliness and lost hope fading fast.

>> you want to talk about taking what wind was in her sails out of those sails and leaving her in the doldrums, it certainly did.

>> she died a few years later, by many accounts, a broken woman. in san marino meanwhile, life went on. the lorraine road property found buyers, and in may 1994 , almost a decade after john and linda disappeared, the new owners decided to install a pool. they cleared the old backyard and started digging until the work suddenly stopped, and police were summoned to the scene.

>> and they said that they discovered a body. well, initially, of course, we thought, this couldn't happen in san marino .

>> krista guf was a san marino detective when the human skeleton was found.

>> we said, hey, there was a missing person at that arrest. there was a lot of information coming together on that first day.

>> it was a man's skeleton, and that old missing persons report suggested who that man was.

>> i didn't need the dna. i didn't need the dental records . i knew that was john.

>> john sohus' friend, sue coffman, heard the del taytails of how the body had been dressed, jeans and a plaid shirt, and the truth hit home.

>> i said that was the way john dressed all the time. that was the way he liked to dress.

>> the remains told the rest of the story. blows to the head, six stab wounds in the back. not just murder, about but a brutal murder. a missing persons case that had gone permanently cold was transformed in that moment to a very active super heated homicide investigation. there were two other people who lived at lorraine road then and were unaccounted for, john's wife linda , still missing, and a tenant in the guest house . exactly where were they, and was it possible one of them was a killer?