Former bio-chemical consultant for a Federal Intelligence Agency found dead from alleged suicide : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Scare in the Biofem case


Police evacuate a day-care center and neighborhood as they look for chemicals that doctor who killed himself may have left.

March 4, 2000


Friday was a day of chasing rumors for Irvine police trying to unravel a shooting that left a biotech executive shot in the face and his partner dead by his own hand.

It began with a tip that, before he killed himself Thursday, Dr. Larry Ford had planted dangerous chemicals at his Irvine home, in a car parked at police headquarters and in one other location.

Some "non-essential" police employees were told to stay home. A day care next to City Hall was evacuated; later, Ford's Woodbridge neighborhood was cleared out.

Investigators took the threat seriously because Ford once worked as a biochemical consultant for a federal intelligence agency, his lawyer said. That news prompted police to call in the FBI, the Orange County Fire Authority's hazardous-materials team and the Orange County Sheriff Department's bomb squad.

"Certainly, any rumors like that would contribute to our concern," Irvine police Lt. Jeff Kermode said.

By day's end, investigators had seized 20 to 50 baby-food size bottles and a larger bottle  all with unknown substances. Ford's partner, James Patrick Riley, was shot in the face by a masked gunman Monday morning as he stepped out of his Audi in front of the Biofem Pharmaceutical company the two owned. Riley was released from the hospital earlier this week.

Dino D'Saachs, an Altadena businessman and a friend of Ford's, has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Ford's attorney, Stephen Klarich, on Friday said Riley also knew D'Saachs. Neither Riley nor his attorney could be reached for comment; a Biofem spokeswoman had said earlier that Riley did not know D'Saachs.

"At this point, we're not commenting on any of the relationships or the evidence in the case," Kermode said.

Police have alleged that D'Saachs was the getaway driver. They are searching for the shooter and at least one other accomplice, and Ford may have been involved in the plot, Kermode said.

Police received the tip about the dangerous chemicals around 11:30 p.m. Thursday. They already had seized a Pontiac Firebird from a Biofem employee's Newport Beach home and taken it to the impound yard behind headquarters. A black gym bag was inside the locked trunk.

"Hazmat" teams and the bomb squad soon arrived.

By daylight, Police Department managers had called clerks and told them not to come to work. Then they shut down a nearby child-care center, rerouting parents to Deerfield Park.

About 9 a.m., a bomb-squad robot, controlled by deputies in a nearby garage, rolled up to the vehicle and pulled out the bag. About an hour later, "hazmat" workers in protective suits opened it, finding sneakers, clothing and other items that police wouldn't identify.

But nothing was hazardous.

About 11:30 a.m., the teams moved the operation to Ford's home on Foxboro, where they had spent four hours on Wednesday. They closed the street and asked about 20 residents to leave.

"This is like the last thing I would expect in this neighborhood, in this setting. We're, like, shocked," said Hina Qureshey, 17, a Woodbridge High School senior.

At Ford's home, investigators removed jars of an unknown chemical. Sgt. Jeff Noble said investigators were concerned mainly about a liter bottle containing a crystallized substance; a chemist was called in to help identify the substances.

Authorities also searched the home of Valerie Kesler of Newport Beach, removing several items. They would not discuss the items or Kesler's relationship to the case.

Prosecutors allege financial gain was the motive behind Riley's shooting. But Klarich, Ford's lawyer, said his client would not have gained with Riley out of the picture. Riley's family would get his business interests in the event of his death, he said.

"There was no reason for (Ford) to do his partner any harm," he said.

Klarich added he didn't know whether his client was guilty or innocent. The only piece of evidence he said he knew police had taken during Wednesday's search of Ford's home was a Rolodex containing D'Saachs' number.

Klarich didn't say if police took any weapons Wednesday, but said he thought Ford killed himself with a shotgun, which was a family heirloom.

He didn't know if Ford left behind a suicide note, but said Ford didn't say anything to his wife, Diane, before going upstairs and ending his life in a bedroom.

Klarich said he was in the home when Ford's children called. They were flying in from Utah, where they attend Brigham Young University.

"The kids were just crying: 'What happened, Mommy?' " he said. "They are in shock."

Ford's father, Creed, said he planned to fly from Utah to California in the next few days to mourn the death of his only child, who he remembered as a boy whose interest in science began when he was in elementary school in Provo.

"That's all he was doing," Creed Ford said. "He started with all these projects and took first place in different science contests in school.

"I just can't talk about it anymore right now. I'm beside myself." ---------------------------------------------------------------------

hmmmm...I wonder if they knew The Clintons

-- cin (, March 05, 2000

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