SAN DIEGO — Months of detailed work by a Riverside County deputy coroner resulted in a sort of tragic success Tuesday when scattered bones found in a remote canyon were identified as those of a 7-year-old San Diego girl missing for 15 months.
Alan Kunzman insisted on literally sifting the dirt that finally led to the discovery of teeth that were key to identifying the victim. And it was Kunzman's persistence in tracing hundreds of missing-persons reports that ended in the match-up with Charitie Careins, who was last seen near a Pacific Beach camping area.
"I have children and I couldn't stand here and leave things undone," the deputy coroner said. "This little girl was a human being, and there is no reason to allow a heavy schedule to allow her to be put in a block and forgot about."
Dental records matched against nine teeth found in San Timoteo Canyon, off California 60 about 120 miles northeast of San Diego, led to the identification, Kunzman said.