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Monday, January 26, 2009

Breaking News: French Authorities Conclude De La Plaza Death '100 percent homicide.' S.F. Police Refuse to Read Report

Posted By on Mon, Jan 26, 2009 at 12:36 PM

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A formal report recently produced by French investigators and coroners regarding the San Francisco stabbing death of Hugues de la Plaza concludes that the French national's demise was "100 percent homicide," according to his former girlfriend.

Melissa Nix was informed of the news by de la Plaza's father, Francois. De la Plaza was found dead in his Hayes Valley apartment in June 2007; the case sparked international attention when the San Francisco Police Department ruled it a suicide despite the absence of a note or bloody knife in the apartment (one of several unusual stabbing deaths the SFPD declared were not murders).

In a cruel bureaucratic twist, Nix notes that the French authorities -- who, in a humiliating move for the SFPD, went to federal court to obtain the evidence in the case and transport it back to Paris -- are forbidden from simply giving the report to the SFPD. The police must request it.

"Basically, Chief [Heather] Fong has to ask for the report," says Nix. "I don't know what their incentive is to ask for a report that shows how they failed to properly investigate a murder for a year and a half."

Police spokeswoman Sgt. Lyn Tomioka said she'd forward questions of whether the report will be requested -- and what to make of its explosive contents -- up the chain of command to Deputy Chief of Investigations David Shinn.

Nix said Francois de la Plaza will come to San Francisco on Feb. 15 to post a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of his son's killer, as well as "confronting the mayor, D.A., and police chief."

She'd like the chance to do the same, but claims the SFPD has frozen her out -- even though she currently has a team of French TV journalists in tow. On Monday she met with Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi; de la Plaza was his former constituent and Mirkarimi is the vice-chair of the public safety committee (which he formerly led).

"He is the only politician who has been responsive," said Nix, an education reporter for the Sacramento Bee. "I am trying to get Ross' help."

UPDATE, 1:45 P.M.: Nix told SF Weekly that Mirkarimi will formally request a copy of the French  report during Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting.

UPDATE, 5 p.m.: Police Spokesman Sgt. Wilfred Williams said the SFPD will "initiate the process" of requesting a copy of the French report.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Bio:
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

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