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One of three missing Hemet teens is alive, well

Felicia Sharpe shows up at the police station with her mother. But Jose Campos and Adrian Rios are still missing, and authorities find more charred human remains where they were last seen.

November 26, 2009|By David Kelly
  • A forensic investigator dusts a box of laundry soap for fingerprints outside the garage of a home on Bluejay Way in Hemet where human remains were found.
A forensic investigator dusts a box of laundry soap for fingerprints outside… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)

Reporting from Hemet — The mystery of three missing Hemet teens deepened Wednesday when one turned up alive and well while police unearthed charred human remains at a home where the other two were last seen.

"We have found more human remains, but we can't say if it's one person or two or three," said Lt. Dean Evans of the Hemet Police Department. "It does alarm us that the remains have been found at the home of one of the missing juveniles."

Evans said one of the original three, Felicia Sharpe, was brought to the police station Wednesday by her mother and was being interviewed by investigators.

The youths, all 17, went missing about 10 days ago. The last time friends saw Jose Campos and Adrian Rios was at Campos' rented home on Bluejay Way; they were watching a San Diego Chargers football game.

After the game, neighbors reported a bonfire in the backyard of the home along with a smell so strong that many had to shut their windows.

"It smelled like pallets burning on the beach," said Robert Rotsolk, who lives next door to the Campos home.

Keith McClintock, who lives behind the house, said he recently encountered Rios and Campos running through his yard. He said both had apparently been pepper-sprayed in the eyes and were extremely agitated. He told them to get off his property.

At the urging of Rios' parents, police searched the house Nov. 17 and found burned and fragmented human remains in a grave about 1 1/2 feet deep in the backyard. Additional searches Tuesday and Wednesday turned up more remains.

Evans said there were no suspects, and he could not say if the remains were those of the missing teens. He said Sharpe, Campos' girlfriend, had apparently been with her mother since shortly after being reported missing. He also said his department had not had contact with the teens before this incident.

Laura Carmona, 17, has known Rios since he was in sixth grade. He attended the Hemet Community School, a place for youths who had been expelled from other schools.

"He was a typical teenager who sometimes got into trouble," she said. "He was best friends with my cousin and was always at my house."

Since his disappearance, she has gone to his mother's house every night at 7 to pray the rosary for his safe return. "I hope for his mom's sake that it's not him," she said of the human remains.

On Wednesday, police had roped off much of Bluejay Way and stacked boxes of belongings in the Campos driveway as they continued to search the home and yard. The parents of the missing teens could not be reached for comment.

Neighbors in the quiet subdivision near Harmony Elementary School gathered on the sidewalks to watch investigators combing for evidence behind yellow police tape.

"I have seen police and undercover officers going in there for the last few days," said Alex Franco, who has lived on the street for seven years. "I can't believe this has happened in this neighborhood."

david.kelly@latimes.com

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