Bones found in a backyard may be the former residents missing for years.

John and Linda Sohus in wedding dress on the day of their marriage

John and Linda Sohus

Man taking a human skull out of a plastic bag

Human bones were found in the backyard


In May 1994, while digging a swimming pool in San Marino, California, a workman made a grim discovery. Three plastic bags and a fiberglass box full of dismembered sections of a human skeleton. According to Det. Ronnie Lancaster of the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department, the bones may belong to two former residents:

“We didn’t really know who this person was and we were later told by uniformed officers from San Marino that in 1985, the people that lived in that house had reported two people missing.”

Linda Sohus laughing next to John Sohus

John and Linda disappeared suddenly

The two missing persons were John Sohus and his wife, Linda, who had once lived in the house with John’s mother. Their sudden disappearance 10 years earlier had mystified everyone who knew them. Now it appeared that either John or Linda or both may have been killed and buried in their own backyard.

According to their friends, John and Linda felt trapped living with John’s mother and looked forward to escaping to a place of their own. John held several part time computer programming jobs. Sue Bermudez Coffman, a friend of Linda’s, said Linda was beginning to find success as an artist:

“Linda was happy with her life. And John approved of everything she had to do and say. And I thought that was great for her because she’d never had a supportive man in her life.”

Now in their late 20’s, it appeared the young couple had finally gotten the break they’d been hoping for. According to Sue, Linda and John had been asked to interview for important new jobs:

“Linda called me and informed me that John had a job with the government and she couldn’t release any information to me. All she could tell me was that he’s got a job with the government and they want us both. And we have to go to New York.”

Linda told Sue that the trip was scheduled to last two weeks. But Linda and John never returned, and the mystery only deepened in the later months.

A cat inside of a small cage

Linda paid to board her cats for two weeks

Prior to the trip, Linda had boarded her six cats at a local kennel and paid in advance for the two-week stay. But at the end of eight weeks, she still had not claimed her pets. The kennel owner tracked down Linda’s sister, Kathy, who said it was uncharacteristic of her sister to do such a thing:

“I immediately thought that something was wrong. If they were not going to return, they would’ve taken their pets with them. I feel very strongly that Linda would not have left her animals behind.”

Kathy telephoned John’s mother, DiDi Sohus, hoping she had an explanation. In several phone calls, DiDi kept insisting to Kathy that John and Linda were on some sort of a secret mission:

“It did appear to me as though she had been drinking. Sometimes it depended on what time of the day you called as to how wild the story became.”

A postcard sent by John and Linda

Postcard supposedly from John & Linda

Linda’s family filed a missing person report and San Marino Police started an investigation. Their first stop: Didi Sohus’ home.

DiDi told the police the same story: that John and Linda were on a secret mission and that she got this information from someone she called “her source.” Didi refused to identify the person. With no evidence of foul play, the police were powerless to investigate further.

Finally, a full three months after the Sohus’ had left for New York, Linda’s friend, Sue, received a picture postcard from France that she said aroused her suspicious:

“I have no clue as to how going to New York could ever wind up being France. And I read the back of it. I was like, I can’t wait, she’s finally going to tell me where she is, what’s going on. And all it said was ‘Dear Sue, Kinda missed New York, oops. But this can be lived with. John and Linda.’ Nothing about ‘I’ll call you later, can’t talk now.’ Nothing. It just didn’t sound like her.”

Then another card was sent from France to Linda’s family. According to Kathy Jacoby:

“My mother received a postcard from Linda. It did not say when she would return or how she had come to be in Paris. If they were planning a trip to Europe, she would have been very excited about going and would certainly have expressed that.”

Three months after refusing to help the police, Didi Sohus had a change of heart. She, too, filed a missing persons report on John and Linda. Didi finally revealed that her “source” was actually the tenant in her guest house, a man who called himself Christopher Chichester. He’d lived there for the past two years, but suddenly moved out, leaving no forwarding address.

An investigator wearing a hazmat type suit performing a luminol test in the guest house

A luminol test found blood in the guest house

Didi also reported that her son’s pick-up truck was now missing, though she had no idea when it disappeared. There still was no proof however, that a crime had been committed, and therefore the investigation stalled again.

Soon after filing her missing persons report, DiDi Sohus sold her house and moved to a trailer park. She died two years later, the fate of her son, still a mystery.

The case sprang to life again nine months after Didi died. The Sohus’ truck turned up 3,000 miles away in Greenwich, Connecticut. A man calling himself Christopher Crowe had tried to sell the pick-up to the son of a local minister without the title papers. Rather than buy the truck, the minister’s son reported it to the police. Sgt. Daniel Allen of Greenwich, Connecticut, Police Department did some digging:

“The reverend’s son decided not to purchase the vehicle based on the fact that there was an outstanding lien on the truck. My continued investigation in attempting to locate Mr. Chichester ultimately ended in me discovering that Mr.Chichester and Mr. Crowe were the same individuals.”

Christian Gerhartstreiter

Be it Crowe or Chichester, the ex-tenant seemed to be the one person who might be able to shed light on the Sohus’ disappearance. But he had vanished again. The investigation had stalled, until the dismembered skeleton was discovered five years later. At that time, a forensic anthropologist examined the remains and determined that they fit the physical descriptions of John Sohus. A lack of dental records however, prevented conclusive identification.

Det. Ronnie Lancaster said he was mystified about how the bones might have been buried in the Sohus’ backyard:

“Nothing about the bones themselves said there was murder. There were no bullet holes. But the fact that the bones were buried in three separate plastic bags and the head in a separate bag, makes one think that there was murder involved.”

Detectives hoped to learn more using a chemical called luminol, which emits a distinctive glow when it comes in contact with blood. Luminol was applied to the cement floors in the guesthouse on the former Sohus property. Within moments it would become apparent if there was evidence of murder. There was. The telltale glow was unmistakable. Det. Robert Carr, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department administered the test:

“Although luminal can detect chemicals in other compounds, this was not just a trace element situation. There was a copious amount of something put on that floor. And in our opinion, that was blood.”

But whose blood? Was John Sohus murdered in the guesthouse, then buried in the backyard? If so, what happened to Linda? Officially, both John and Linda Sohus are still missing.


More than 20 years after John and Linda Sohus disappeared, a man calling himself Clark Rockefeller was identified as a “person of interest” in the investigation. Rockefeller was arrested in a parental abduction case. Fingerprints proved that he was, in fact, Christian Gerhartstreiter — alias Christopher Chichester — the man who’d lived in the guesthouse next to John and Linda Sohus. After further investigation, the Los Angeles County District Attorney recently filed charges against Christian Gerhartstreiter for the murder of John Sohus. Gerhartstreiter has denied any involvement in the case of John and Linda Sohus. However, he was convicted of the murder of John Sohus and sentenced to 27 years to life. No trace of Linda Sohus has ever been found.

Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season seven with Robert Stack and in season two with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.



  1. Anonymous

    I changed my mind. If Linda was involved Christopher would have ratted her out. He is completely silent about her whereabouts. John being found with horse and chicken bones shows evidence of farm animals. They could have destroyed much of the evidence. Didi actually didn’t know what was going on. Christopher was always without clothes and Didi never wanted to disturb him and his private activities.


  2. Anonymous

    Whoever killed John must have really liked animals. There is evidence he was eaten by pigs. And I had a dream about the cats. They just couldn’t stay off the bed where luminol shows john killed. Linda wanting her family with the truck is typical of a covered up homicide. Moving vehicles is a common decoy for killers.


  3. Anonymous

    The classic covered up crime scene. No trace is the best trace of them all. Some people call them private family funerals. As for missing adults, they are either dead or hiding from the law. Boarding up the cats is very suspicious. If they were prowling around the outside of the residence they could have aroused a scene. Why not just leave them with your mother in law until they moved? And the poor mother in law. She had a crazy daughter in law. She likely witnessed the death of her own son. And was possibly threatened the same fate if she reported it.


  4. Truth

    The bride looks wasted in that picture.


  5. Bill Blaski

  6. Charles

    I am completely baffled by this. Was a motive ever discovered? Was this just a spree kill?


    • Anonymous

      Don Sherman was very similar. He was in a love triangle. (Later was murdered by his wife.) That case was also on Unsolved Mysteries. Christopher was a nudist. And both cases have a lady named Linda. Christopher is another Don to me.


  7. Drove

    This is extremely weird!


  8. Anahi

    This is so confusing and i must say that this will be really a good thing.


  9. Mack

    That is so sad to know, I must say this is so mysterious and would be amazing to have a good time.


  10. nancy

    This is so unbelievable.


  11. barack

    That is really creepy to face such situation seriously.


  12. jack

    That is quite strange to read it out and i will never want to face that situation.


  13. william

    It is so stunning to have something like that.


  14. Laura

    Does anyone know which episode or season features this case?


  15. william

    I will love to have some fun there.


  16. William

    massive stuff read out here.


  17. alisjack



  18. alisjack

    i will love to have some fun there.


  19. alisjack

    That is really very creepy to know that.


  20. Anonymous

    Maybe Gerhertsreiter was somehow involved with WW2 German fugitives and John and Linda’s mission was to look for Nazi war criminals. Just a thought as it is no crazier than other conspiracy theories


  21. Sharron

    Anyone think maybe the wife killed the husband and escaped to Europe???


  22. bertrand

    If the postcards did come from Gerhertsreiter then it should be easy to verify. Did he travel to France during the time the postcards were sent? And if he did kill them both, it would likely have been at the same time as they both went missing together, then why would he hide the bodies in two different locations?


    • Anonymous

      That is possible. But I he never seen that. As for what flight of boat they boarded, that is a needle in a haystack.


    • Anonymous

      Christopher was staying in California when Linda sent the April 25th post card from New York. He is documented being interviewed by police. (He still could have drove there and back however.)


  23. Joann

    Did anyone ever find out who actually sent the postcards from Paris that were signed by Linda Sohus – someone had to. Thanks.


    • dominic

      The postcards more than likely came from Gerhertsreiter. Either he forced her to sign the postcards under duress or he simply forged her signature himself.


    • Anonymous

      That should be investigated by handwriting experts.


    • Anonymous

      According to John’s mother they were from Linda. She was very clear about that. I wish she was still alive to give her account. She looked like an alcoholic. But she actually didn’t start to drink heavily until the disappearance. Her money could have also went to Linda. (There is an unknown trail that had her downsize to a trailer park almost broke.)


  24. sage

    anyone else find it weird how the mom decided to just leave after they went missing? and how they went missing as soon as they were prepared to leave the mothers house??


    • Anonymous

      She was possibly too intimidated to say everything she knew. She could have been threatened.


    • JM

      It was the mother who had her son and daughter-in-law killed.
      She hired this guy Chichester to murder them. She was angry that they were abandoning her, leaving her all alone. The pickup truck was given to Chichester as part of the payment for the murder for hire.


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