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Couple who found Dorner thought he'd been there 'the whole time'

April 10, 2013|By Joseph Serna and Kimi Yoshino

The Big Bear couple tied up by former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner thought he had been in their cabin “the whole time” police were searching for him, according to 911 tapes.

Karen and Jim Reynolds, told a dispatcher in February that they had arrived at their condo near Big Bear and found Dorner inside.

"I'm pretty sure he's been here the whole time," Karen Reynolds said, according to a recording of the call posted online by KPCC-FM (89.3).

During the call, Karen Reynolds calmly tells the dispatcher that Dorner tied them up and stolen the keys to their purple Nissan Rogue.

They estimated he had left 15 to 30 minutes before they were able to free themselves and make the call.

"We walked in on him and then he left," Karen Reynolds said. "We came into this unit and he was in here. He got us blindfolded and put stuff in our mouths and put pillowcases on our heads and had us tied up."

FULL COVERAGE: Sweeping manhunt for ex-cop

She said Dorner was by himself, dressed in black and armed with an automatic gun, equipped with a silencer.

Karen Reynolds told the dispatcher multiple times that she believed Dorner may have been at the empty rental unit in the 1200 block of Club View Drive for several days -- the whole time authorities across Southern California were hunting for him, including an intensive door-to-door search in the Big Bear area.

She said she worried he may have seen the couple's daughter and housekeeper outside.

WHO THEY WERE: Victims in the Dorner case 

"We don't know for sure if he saw them or not," she said.

The Reynoldses and Rick Heltebrake, a camp ranger carjacked by Dorner, have filed claims for a $1-million reward offered for information leading to the former officer's capture.

Police say Dorner killed four people, including two law enforcement officers, in a revenge-fueled rampage before taking his own life Feb. 12 in another Big Bear-area cabin as it burned to the ground. 

A day after Dorner's death, the couple told reporters at a news conference they feared the worst, although Dorner tried to reassure them that he didn't want to harm them.

"I really thought it could be the end," Karen Reynolds said.

"He tried to calm us down, saying very frequently he would not kill us," said Jim Reynolds, who has owned the condo with his wife for 12 years. "He huddled down beside me and said, 'You're going to be quiet right? Not make a fuss and let me get away?' "

Their 911 call set in motion a chain of events that led to a shootout between Dorner and a state Fish and Wildlife warden, then to a standoff at another cabin, where he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Los Angeles police said last week that three former judges will decide who will receive the $1-million reward. 

ALSO:

Christopher Dorner: Big Bear couple's 911 call released

Man killed after shooting at deputy in Lynwood, authorities say

Perris school teacher accused of trying to seduce student free on bail

joseph.serna@latimes.com

kimi.yoshino@latimes.com

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