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Severed Body Is Identified as San Bernardino Man's

November 03, 2005|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

The man whose dismembered body was found scattered in San Bernardino County this weekend was identified by police Wednesday as a 73-year-old retiree from San Bernardino. Investigators said they believed he was killed inside his residence.

The victim, Charles Gillespie, apparently lived in the San Bernardino home of his caretaker, authorities said. When police went to the home Tuesday they found the strong odor of bleach and evidence that sections of the carpet had been cleaned with bleach or another cleanser recently, an investigator said.

"We have established this home to be the crime scene," San Bernardino Police Sgt. Mike Desrochers said. "The crime scene is the entire residence and the backyard."

Gillespie's caretaker and legal conservator, Charmain Bergmann, 53, was interviewed by homicide investigators, but neither she nor anyone else has been identified as a suspect, Desrochers said.

Authorities on Wednesday were trying to find any relatives of Gillespie, who changed his last name from Osburn in 1975.

Authorities have determined how Gillespie's body was dismembered, but sheriff's Homicide Sgt. Frank Bell declined to release details about the slaying, saying it could compromise the investigation.

The San Bernardino County coroner's office investigation into Gillespie's cause of death is pending.

An 80-year-old woman walking her dog found the torso Sunday morning in San Bernardino's Wildwood Park. A fisherman driving to Silverwood Lake spotted Gillespie's head, arms and legs along Highway 138 in Hesperia about 2 a.m. Sunday.

The motorist "thought it was a Halloween joke at first, but then quickly realized it was no prank," Bell said.

The police search of the home was expected to continue through Wednesday night.

"Every murder investigation is important, but there's some special circumstances on this one, given the manner of how [Gillespie] was found," Desrochers said.

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