Details have emerged surrounding the discovery of a convertible Mercedes Benz unearthed in the backyard of an Atherton, California mansion.
Authorities would not say if investigators believed it to be registered to Johnny Lew, who had built the home and lived there with his family in the ‘90s. However, KRON-TV reported Monday that the car had a personalized license plate that includes “Lew.”
Police have not said who owned the car or who might have buried it in the mansion’s backyard. However, the car was reported stolen in September 1992. Cops did note that the possible owner of the car is likely to be deceased, but DMV records have not confirmed that.
Cadaver dogs at the scene made three “slight” notifications of possible human remains, though Atherton Police Cmdr. Daniel Larsen says it could have been several things.
“They are going through a landscaping project, so it’s quite possible it could be a worker who got cut and dripped some blood on the ground. We just don’t know what the dogs are reacting to until we discover it.” Larsen said.
As of now, the department states the on-scene investigation of the scene “did not reveal anything unusual or suspicious.”
Lew died in Washington state in 2015, just a year after his family sold the house, his daughter told the San Francisco Chronicle.
He had a history of arrests, including one in the late 1990s for insurance fraud after he hired undercover police officers to take a $1.2 million yacht “out west of the Golden Gate Bridge into international waters and put it on the bottom,” the newspaper reports.
In the ‘60s, Lew was found guilty of murdering a 21-year-old woman in Los Angeles County. The conviction was reversed in 1968, due to evidence that should not have been allowed at trial. In 1977, Lew was convicted of two counts of attempted murder in L.A. County and spent three years in prison.
Locals in Atherton—a Silicon Valley hideaway with one of the priciest zip codes in the U.S.—have their own theories about the town’s unearthed mystery.
“We’re just waiting to hear what’s in the car,” Kathy Consani told the station. “I think he probably just buried the car for insurance money.”