ATHERTON, Calif. (KRON) — The Atherton Police Department announced it has concluded its on-scene investigation in the backyard of a mansion where a Mercedes Benz sportscar was found buried last week. The buried car was discovered during a landscaping project and during the initial investigation, cadaver dogs were called in.
The cadaver dogs made what Atherton PD described as a “slight notification of possible human remains” on three separate occasions. However, following removal of the car from the yard over the weekend, further excavation at the site did not reveal the presence of any human remains.
Investigators deployed ground-penetrating radar to examine the scene on Sunday, Oct. 23, according to an Atherton PD press release. Nothing unusual or suspicious was found on the scene, nor were any human remains located. “This concluded our on-scene investigation,” said Atherton PD.
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Investigators determined that the vehicle was likely buried at the property sometime in the 1990s, about 4-5 feet down in the ground. During the excavation of the vehicle, unused bags of concrete were found inside. The vehicle was reported stolen to the Palo Alto Police Department in September of 1992, according to Atherton PD.
Police say the vehicle was buried before the current homeowner occupied the home. However, the mansion’s previous owner, John Bocktune Lew, had a history of criminal activity, including a murder conviction (that was later overturned by the California Supreme Court) and an insurance fraud arrest stemming from an unsuccessful effort to sink a yacht he owned near the Golden Gate Bridge and collect a $1.2 million claim.
KRON4 has visually confirmed that the car found in the Atherton backyard has a personalized license plate that includes the house’s original owner’s name, “Lew.”