CA CYNTHIA LYNN MAINE: Missing from San Diego, CA - 21 Feb 1986 - Age 26


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Cynthia Lynn Maine left home to go to a movie, and didn't return. She contacted her mother two days after she left home, and has not been seen or heard of since.

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Missing Since: 02/21/1986
Missing From: San Diego, California
Classification: Endangered Missing
Sex: Female
Race: White
Date of Birth: 10/20/1959 (60)
Age: 26 years old
Height and Weight: 4'11, 125 pounds
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A pink and white striped sweater and blue jeans.
Medical Conditions: Maine was addicted to heroin at the time of her disappearance.
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Blonde hair, blue eyes. Maine's nickname is Cindy. She may use the aliases Cindy Coleman, Toma Main, Cynthia Lynn Thoma and/or Cynthia Smith. Maine has needle marks on both arms and on the backs of her hands, pierced ears and a cap on one of her upper front teeth.

Details of Disappearance
Maine was last seen at her home in San Diego, California on February 21, 1986, shortly after being released from jail on probation. She went to go see a movie and never returned.

Maine had contact with her mother two days later, but this is the last time she was heard from. At the time of her disappearance she was a prostitute who also worked as an undercover police informant. She had several outstanding warrants for her arrest.

Maine has been declared legally dead, the presumed victim of a homicide. Her case remains unsolved.


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Paper Reports 6 Officers May Be Tied to Slaying
Credit...The New York Times Archives
September 30, 1990, Section 1, Page 2 8

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.

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.


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Since June 1985, 43 women have been killed, their bodies disposed of in rural areas around San Diego County. Until Buzzard Stevens’s arrest a month after McVey’s death, no one had been brought to trial for any of these murders (and only because detectives matched Stevens’s fingerprints to prints found on tape that held in place the blue socks that may or may not have been placed in McVey’s mouth to stop the post-mortem purge was Stevens apprehended). Of the 43 women, 28, like Cynthia McVey, were identified as prostitutes or drug users.

Jay and Lori Helle. "Up to that point, she kept trying to get clean. That’s when he started using her as an informant, and once you start doing that, I think it’s almost impossible to get out of it.”

I was visiting the Helles because in February 1986, Lori Helle’s older sister, Cynthia Lynn Maine, a prostitute, heroin addict, and PI, police informant, did not return to the University City apartment where she and her four-year-old son were staying with her mother. Twenty-six-year-old Maine had not come home before. During the early ’80s, she’d worked the streets — car dates, mostly — to service her $700-a-day drug habit and that of the man her family says turned her on to drugs. Off and on she cleaned up, didn’t use. And Lori Helle believed Maine wasn’t using immediately before her disappearance. “She looked good, looked clean, looked healthy, she didn’t look like she was on drugs.” Helle first learned her sister was missing when their mother called to say Maine hadn’t come home. Helle and her mother called Maine’s friends. No one had seen her. They called John Fung, a policeman for whom Helle believed her sister had worked as a PI and with whom Maine was in love. Helle said that Fung was not helpful. Helle and her mother got in the car and drove up and down El Cajon Boulevard and University Avenue.


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Policemen Reportedly Targeted in Prostitutes’ Death, Disappearance
EDUARDO MONTES September 28, 1990

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ A task force investigating a string of slayings is focusing on six former or current police officers in the death and disappearance of two prostitutes, two newspapers said.

Meanwhile, authorities continued their search Thursday for another killer believed to have fatally stabbed five women since January.

The San Diego Union and the Los Angeles Times reported the Metropolitan Homicide Task Force is investigating six current or former officers who reportedly knew slain prostitute Donna Gentile or her friend Cynthia Lynn Maine, who is missing.

Both women were prostitutes, had served as police informants and were romantically involved with at least one officer, the newspapers said.

Gentile, who was found dead in 1985, is believed to be the first victim in a string of 43 slayings in San Diego County. The victims, all women, were dumped in remote areas of the county. Most were prostitutes with histories of drug abuse and most were strangled.

Gentile died soon after testifying before a city Civil Service Commission investigating police misconduct. Rocks had been packed in her mouth, suggesting to detectives that she was killed because of her testimony.

Maine, the daughter of a former San Diego police officer, disappeared in 1986, three months after being released from jail. She had been serving time for writing bad checks but was released early after agreeing to provide information about several officers, the newspapers said.

Bonnie Dumanis, spokeswoman for the task force, confirmed Maine’s disappearance was being investigated but would neither confirm nor deny reports that police officers were targets of the probe.

Last week, investigators searched the home, desk, car and police locker of San Diego police Sgt. Alfonso Salvatierra for evidence in Maine’s disappearance, said his attorney, Everett Bobbitt.

Salvatierra consented to the searches, which turned up nothing, Bobbitt said.

″He’s not been charged with any misconduct, administratively or criminally,″ Bobbitt said.

Maine’s mother, Lynda Coleman, and sister, Lori Helle, claimed this week that her daughter was romantically involved with another police officer and became a police informant in drug investigations at the officer’s request.

Police spokesman Dave Cohen declined comment.

″I think they flat mishandled it, whether through ineptness or for some other reason,″ Coleman said of the task force. ″I’m livid. I’m a mother who lost a beautiful, bright young girl. It makes me sick that they treated this so blase.″

The only person charged in any of the slayings is Alan Michael Stevens, 48, a Southern California drifter charged in the 1988 death of Cynthia McVey. His trial is to begin Monday.

Meanwhile, San Diego police said one person is likely responsible for the Sept. 13 slayings of Pamela Gail Clark, 42, and her 18-year-old daughter, Amber, and the deaths of three young women earlier this year.

In each case, the killer entered the victim’s home at about noon, apparently through an unlocked door, and stabbed each woman repeatedly, police said.


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3 Officers Suspended in Team Inquiry

Nov. 7, 1991

After an investigation turned up what it called “substantial, credible evidence” that two San Diego police officers were sexually involved with a prostitute and drug user who disappeared in 1986, both men have been given 20-day unpaid suspensions and transfers to patrol duty.

A third officer, who has admitted to hiring an employee of former “Rolodex Madam” and prostitute Karen Wilkening for a bachelor party of a police colleague and whose name was found in her Rolodex, has been given a 10-day unpaid suspension.

No other officer is expected to be disciplined as a result of a 10-month investigation by the Metropolitan Homicide Task Force, a multi-agency team of detectives that turned up “wholesale irregularities” in the way a police street team handled narcotics and informants in the mid-1980s.

County grand juries in 1989, 1990 and 1991 also examined some of the same allegations, before turning over their findings to the task force.

Police sources confirmed Wednesday that Sgt. Alfonso (Sal) Salvatierra and Officer John Fung, both 17-year veterans, had received 20-day suspensions without pay. Officer Chuck Arnold, a 10-year veteran, was given a 10-day suspension without pay.

Officially, the department announced that “an administrative investigation has taken place as a result of information referred by the task force, and in some of those cases, we did take disciplinary action,” Assistant Chief Dave Worden said Wednesday.

Worden declined to discuss how many officers were disciplined or disclose their identities, citing state confidentiality laws that prohibit the Police Department from discussing personnel matters.

Further details of the punishments will be disclosed only if the three officers decide to appeal the disciplinary action in civil service proceedings, which are open to the public. None of the men is expected to do so, sources said.

One ranking police official, who requested anonymity, said the suspensions do not seem severe, given the gravity of the evidence uncovered by task force investigators. At the same time, he said, “there’s a real time lapse here. Some of these (allegations) are 5 years old. We can’t say we’re going to forget about everything. But it’s also tough to get rid of people based on this happening so long ago.”

Salvatierra, 43, was a member of the department’s gang unit in 1985, the time he is alleged to have had sex with police informant and prostitute Cynthia Maine, according to the task force. Salvatierra, now an officer with the department’s Eastern Division, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Maine worked as an informant for Fung, 42, setting up drug buys beginning in 1984, shortly after Fung arrested her for prostitution. Imprisoned in September, 1985, for passing bad checks, Maine’s sentence was reduced by two months after she gave police information linking officers and prostitutes, her relatives said. She was released in November, 1985, and disappeared the following February.

Members of Maine’s family told homicide task force investigators that she and Fung were romantically involved from the time of her arrest until she was jailed in 1985. The homicide task force investigated Maine’s disappearance as part of a series of 45 prostitute killings that date back to 1985. Two suspects are in custody for three of the murders, and one man has been convicted in a fourth killing.

Last September, one branch of the task force, led by the state attorney general’s office, examined allegations that Fung and Salvatierra were sexually involved with Maine. Fung, who works in the special operations division as special liaison to the county district attorney’s office, could not be reached for comment.

Word that Fung had received a 20-day suspension angered Maine’s mother, Lynda Coleman, who called it “a slap in the face of the taxpayers.”

Although Coleman said she has received no indication that her daughter was involved with Salvatierra, she criticized Fung for his alleged romantic involvement with Maine.

“Police officers are supposed to have better morals than the person next door,” she said. Fung “had a sexual relationship with someone who was working for him. He asked my daughter to wear (recording) equipment and do a policeman’s job. And he got way, way out of line with her.”

She said her husband, San Diego Officer Kenneth Maine, who served on the force for seven years and died in 1982, once got 20 days off without pay for trying to evade police during a high-speed chase.

“I think this is a lot worse,” she said of Fung’s alleged affair.

The task force, citing evidence of “pervasive mismanagement, misconduct and unprofessional activity” on the part of the department’s narcotics street team, including allegations that team members used informants for “casual sex,” concluded in July that police misconduct was rampant within the unit in the mid-1980s.

At the time, Police Chief Bob Burgreen announced that he and the department were embarrassed by the findings, and that four or five officers “would be held accountable for their actions and will be subject to appropriate action.”

Evidence against other officers under investigation was deemed unfounded.

The case of Chuck Arnold was part of a grand jury investigation in 1989 and 1990, in which information surfaced that Arnold’s name was found in Wilkening’s Rolodex, and that he had hired a Wilkening employee to dance at the bachelor party of a fellow police officer.

Arnold, 31, now a patrol officer in Western Division, did not return a telephone call.

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