When police receive a call about a missing person, they usually assume that person will be found safe and sound soon enough as that’s what happens in the majority of cases. But when neighbors call the cops alleging there’s a dead man in a property it’s a different story entirely.
When 65-year-old Brian Egg went missing from his Clara Street home in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood, his relatives reported to the police that they hadn’t heard from him in days. But then a neighbor called saying they feared that Egg was dead inside his house.
Brian Egg reportedly lived a quiet life in his suburban home in the South of Market neighborhood. Neighbors said he was the quiet, unassuming type who kept to himself for the most part. But when police started getting calls regarding the whereabouts of Egg, they went ahead and carried out what they call “wellness checks,” two of them to be precise.
Having received multiple calls from worried neighbors and family members, the local police performed two “wellness checks” which consisted of knocks at the door to check if anyone was home. When there was no answer at the door, the attending officers simply moved on without entering the property. This essentially makes those wellness checks useless in the face of a real missing person’s case.
Missing Person Report
When Egg’s sister filed a missing person report with the police, they attended the property once again. This was their third visit, and once again, as no one answered the door, they failed to gain entry and simply moved on. Police Cmdr. Greg McEachern attempted to explain the police’s actions during a press conference.
According to CBS Local, at the press conference, the police commander attempted to deflect blame from the police. “We don’t just go breaking down doors because someone reports someone missing,” said McEachern to one reporter. But another reporter present took issue with that answer and took the argument to the police spokesperson.
The reporter waited his turn and then addressed the police commander. “But you had family and neighbors saying over and over at that time they thought he was dead,” the reporter asked. To that, McEachern responded, “I don’t have information saying someone thought he was dead, just that there were people that were coming and going and they hadn’t seen him.”
Around a week later and concerned neighbors called the cops once again. They reported suspicious activity around the property in the form of two middle-aged men and a cleaning truck. When police arrived, they arrested 52-year-old Robert McCaffrey and then, a little later in the day, a man called Lance Silva. They were arrested after cleaning products and suspicious odors were found in the home.
When the SFPD obtained a proper search warrant the following day, no one was expecting to find what they found inside the property. That find was more gruesome than even some of the most seasoned officers were used to. The attending officers following a strange odor all the way to a concealed part of the house where they found a large fish tank.
Inside the fish tank, the officers found Egg’s remains in an “advanced state of decomposition” with only his torso inside the tank. The discovery stunned the officers who needed to call for special forensic teams to attend the crime scene to find the missing parts of Egg’s body as well as the cause of death and other evidence.
A nearby neighbor spoke out against the way the police had handled the case up until the point they found Egg’s decomposing body. “If we didn’t say anything would it just have been ignored all this time?” asked Scott Free. “The police didn’t seem to take much interest at first.” The cops even acknowledged that Free made a good point.
When asked about the fourth call police made to the property, they admitted that if it weren’t for that concerned neighbor flagging the suspicious activity, Egg would likely still not have been found. “We might not, that’s correct,” said McEachern. “And that’s where you usually rely on family or someone to let you into the place.”
It didn’t take the police long to figure out the motive for Egg’s untimely death. Court documents reveal that his stolen credit card was used to purchase a BMW from a dealership in East Bay. The owner of Silmi Auto Sales confirmed that Silva was the man who bought the car from him – a fact he was crystal clear about.
The court documents reveal that Silmi was shown a photo of Egg, but he said he had never seen him before. When he was shown a mugshot of Silva, he told a Sgt. Kasper that he was the man who bought the car. Silva admitted to police that he drove that BMW but did not admit to buying it even though he was found in possession of the stolen credit card used.
Crime Scene Cleanup
In an almost unprecedented move, Silva hired a specialist crime scene cleanup company on a private basis to come and clean up Egg’s home following the murder. He used Egg’s Chase debit card to pay the company for the service in the hopes of disposing of all evidence of Egg’s body or his connection to the crime scene. That fact made Silmi’s assertion that Silva was the one who used Egg’s credit card even more legitimate.
KPIX 5 spoke to Silmi about the positive identification he gave on Silva. “He told me he was Brian Egg. His ID and documentation were all Brian Egg,” said Silmi. “It was just a regular transaction to me.” He recalled that the man who bought the car was in a cheerful mood on the day of the purchase, bragging that he had just come into a large amount of money.
Silva bragged further to the car salesman, telling him that he came into so much money that he was able to buy a new house. “He told me about a home he just purchased in SF and how he was coming back up and wanted to buy a car, so I was like, ‘Sure,'” recalled Silmi. Before long, Silva was in police custody.
For the time being, police are still looking into Silva and McCaffrey as they try to ascertain the connection between the two men and Brian Egg. The men are both persons of interest as far as police are concerned, but detectives need to meet with the San Francisco District Attorney to work out the next steps for any potential prosecutions.
Meanwhile, the sudden murder of a man described to be “eccentric and kind” has left family, friends, and neighbors shocked and wanting answers. According to one old friend, Mark Rosenheimer, who met Egg back in the ’70s, said that Egg was “the kind of generous spirit who gave cashmere coats and planted palm trees to his neighbors.” More than two dozen friends and family gathered outside egg’s home on what would have been his 66th birthday to take part in a candlelit vigil.
One of the people to speak in honor of the deceased was his sister Lynn Egg-Jakusovas. Standing aside her brother and niece, she addressed the people gathered. “This has been a difficult, confusing and sad time for our family,” she said. She also said that her family felt encouraged by the amazing support they have received in light of Egg’s tragic murder.
While Brian Egg never hid the fact he was gay, old friends and acquaintances brought old photos of him as well as paintings he had made for them. They recounted stories of the deceased, how he was arrested for growing cannabis and how he enjoyed dancing at nightclubs in North Beach. Many people had fond stories about Brian which they shared at the vigil.
Another person to give a speech at the vigil was a neighbor, Jyrki Kalavainen, who lived on Egg’s street for two years. He constantly gave him and his wife gifts like pieces of art he had drawn or found. “He was a wonderful, warm-hearted man. The whole neighborhood knew him,” said Kalavainen. Another neighbor, Skot Kuiper, also described Egg as “the good spirit of the alley,” referring to an alleyway where he would walk his dog.
Rosenheimer, who hadn’t seen Egg for the best part of ten years, brought a folder full of black and white photos of himself and Egg from a time back in the 70s when the two men dated. Rosenheimer told stories of the time he lived with Egg on Clara Street, and of the fond memories he has of him.
Rosenheimer, now 81, said he was shocked when he heard the terrible news about his ex-boyfriend. “I was shocked when I heard the news. It’s just unbelievable,” he said. But he also spoke about how fondly he remembers his old friend and what a generous and kind person he was. “He was so generous. He was always kind.” But even people at a high level within the SFPD want answers about Egg’s murder.
Soon after San Francisco Police Commissioner Petra DeJesus heard about the case, she immediately leveled some questions against Police Chief Bill Scott. She asked him why police did nothing more than knock on Egg’s door a few times without even gaining entry to check on his well-being. “A wellness check has to be followed up on,” she said. “What if someone is in there and has a broken hip and can’t get up? There has to be a different standard. Neighbors were raising red flags for a couple of months.”
While the police said they had no reason to suspect any foul play initially when Egg was reported missing, DeJesus said she wanted more tangible answers. “I’m curious about that standard,” DeJesus said. “I don’t know if you need suspicion to go in on a wellness check. So what’s the best protocol and how many times do you have to be notified?” The case is ongoing pending the expected prosecution of the two suspects in custody: Lance Silva and Robert McCaffrey.