Sonar used at defrocked priest’s home
Media descended on Sun Valley Road in Tahoe Donner again as investigators continued their search for human remains at a defrocked priest’s second home.
At the request of the Pinole Police Department, specialists were brought in June 20 to perform sonar work on the ground underneath the recently added garage of former Catholic priest Stephen Kiesle’s vacation home.
Norcal Geophysical Consultants, Inc., based in Petaluma, Calif., conducted the tests.
The sonar is used to give a digital profile of the ground down to a depth of 30 feet, said Jerry Nelson of Norcal, adding that it is capable of showing any areas that had been dug and repacked.
Nelson and Pinole Police Department Detective Tom Lown said the results of the tests should be available in about a week.
“The best case is if we could come up with an area we thought was a gravesite or a burial site,” Nelson said.
Lown said they also plan to use sonar to search three areas behind the home.
Lown said Kiesle and his attorney have been cooperating and that they gave permission for last Thursday’s search, so another search warrant wasn’t necessary.
On June 4 and 5, investigators used shovels and backhoes to dig up several areas in the front and back of the house.
Police said they are looking for any evidence that Kiesle, 55, of Pinole is connected to the disappearance of Amber Schwartz Garcia.
Garcia is the 8-year old girl who disappeared in June 1988 in front of her Pinole house.
Last month, as the Fremont (Calif.) Police Department was investigating allegations that Kiesle had molested three Bay Area girls some 20 years ago, investigators learned that he lived on the same street at the time of the disappearance of the young girl.
The investigation also produced further allegations that Kiesle molested three girls, one reportedly a relative, in his Sun Valley Road home.
Truckee Police Commander Scott Berry said earlier this month he expects charges to be filed against Kiesle for the alleged incidents in Truckee, but declined to give a time frame.
Kiesle was arrested on May 16 after a month-long investigation by the Fremont Police Department. He was taken into custody at his home in Pinole, Calif. on three counts of child molestation and booked into Fremont City Jail. He is currently free on a $180,000 bond.
Additional charges were later filed, and police are investigating unsubstantiated reports that Kiesle had sexually abused 10 other victims decades ago.
Kiesle has spent more than 20 years as a computer consultant for ChevronTexaco in San Ramon.
A Sun Valley Road neighbor said he was an infrequent visitor, coming up two or three times a year.
He was ordained in 1972 but left the priesthood in 1981 after pleading no contest to
molesting two boys while serving at a Catholic church in Union City, Calif.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Local coronavirus cases reached 3,292 on Friday, a rise of 35 from the day before.