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For investigators, horror of Salcido case lingers

A few times a year, someone asks Tom Siebe about the Ramon Salcido case. Same with Craig Schulz.

Ken Gnoss thinks of it every April 14. And Dave Edmonds thinks about it as little as possible.

It's been a quarter-century since Salcido, a Sonoma Valley winery worker, committed Sonoma County's most heinous killing rampage — slaying seven and almost killing two others.

A Look Back At The Salcido Killings

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He lives on San Quentin's Death Row while those whose job it was to follow his bloody trail continue to deal with the vivid memories in different ways.

"Every year I remember April 14, 1989. Twenty-five years certainly is a milestone. Every year is a milestone to me, given the severity of the crime," said Gnoss, a Sonoma County judge and former prosecutor who teamed with then-Chief Deputy District Attorney Peter Bumerts for the trial that sent Salcido to Death Row.

"A lot of us are at the end of our careers and it probably remains ... ," Gnoss said, pausing to search for the right word, " ... the most important thing we've ever worked on."

"It comes up in conversation. You talk about it. Otherwise I don't dwell on Ramon. He's not worth it," said Siebe, retired Sonoma County sheriff's chief deputy coroner.

Like several sheriff's detectives, deputies and others, Siebe worked at each of the four murder scenes. Among a host of difficult duties, he helped carry the bagged bodies of victims. He also had to tell Cathy Toovey of the death of her husband and tell Bob Richards of the death of his wife and three daughters, and the next day, two of his three granddaughters.

Salcido "was a point of true evil," Siebe said.

Schulz, son of famed Peanuts comic creator Charles M. Schulz, joined the investigation effort when he volunteered his father's company plane to fly sheriff's detectives to Mexico to retrieve Salcido, who had fled the country.


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