By Michael G. Stogner
The December 1st, 2020, discovery of a dead body, 40-year-old East Palo Alto resident Eddy Cervantes, on the side of Skyline Boulevard, should come as no surprise to anyone. Nor should the fact that he is a suspected homicide victim who apparently had been dumped there and found by passersby.
The dumping of dead bodies, on Skyline Boulevard, was both foreseeable and, I dare say, inevitable. Sheriff Carlos Bolanos and County executives failed the community, by not ensuring the adequate patrolling of Skyline Boulevard.
As previously pointed out, in 2019, following the murder and dumping of yet two other bodies, on Skyline, that this geographic area, in unincorporated San Mateo County, had formerly been assigned patrol deputies to provide line-level law enforcement services for each of the sheriff’s office’s shifts. It was known as the “90 Beat.” The position, that of a deputy sheriff providing patrol services, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, was fully funded for by the County Board of Supervisors and staffed by the sheriff.
Under then Sheriff Don Horsely & Undersheriff Greg Munks, staffing for this position was changed, with the deputies being removed (reassigned) and the funding being used to, first, pay for deputies assigned to East Palo Alto and, later, other pet projects of the sheriff. This practice was continued, first, by Munks who took Horsely’s position as sheriff, in 2007, and then Carlos Bolanos who became sheriff (Illegally), in 2016.
Horsley, Munks, and now Bolanos, respectively, made decisions to leave county residents who live at and about Skyline Boulevard unprotected, without a dedicated patrol officer, because they were deemed to have less value, even though the County Board of Supervisors fully funded the position and, I dare say, had the expectation that this was being done. In short, residents of Skyline and the immediate surrounding area were not persons who mattered.
Conversely, while leaving the residents of Skyline unprotected, the Sheriff’s Office, at great expense and effort, placed surveillance cameras, in the form of license plate readers, in the cities of San Carlos and Portola Valley, to protect their respective citizens against crime……. but then they are persons / constituencies who matter to Sheriff Bolanos. Why don’t you afford the residents of Skyline the same level of protection, Carlos?
Could the described homicides, body dumps, on Skyline Boulevard, be, in part, the result of no dedicated deputy sheriffs patrolling that area, providing an incentive for those that would engage in crime there? Absolutely. Couldn’t the resulting crimes and body dumps have been foreseeable, even inevitable, since there was no dedicated credible sheriff’s deterrent? Again, absolutely.
Did Horsely, Munks, or Bolanos ever inform area residents of their decision to divert resources? No. Did these residents not have an expectation their neighborhood was being staffed and protected by sheriff’s patrols? I think so.
Without the advent of passersby discovering Eddy Cervantes’s body, how long would it have been before he had been found? Shouldn’t County residents expect more from current Sheriff Carlos Bolanos and now Supervisor Horsely? Has either shown the vision, decision making, results, and stewardship residents should expect from such County executives? Certainly, this should be a question best put to the residents of Skyline, the 90 Beat?
And District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe’s comments to the press, following the discovery of Mr. Cervantes, saying:
DA Steve Wagstaffe
“It’s a serious mistake, for any culprit to try and think, I can cover my crime by putting the person out off of skyline. There are so many hikers, bicyclists, road, you know, Mountain bike people going around that it just isn’t an acceptable way to do it.”
are somewhat disingenuous, in that the possibility of a sheriff’s deputy coming across a body being dumped, on Skyline, is remote, seeing the Sheriff’s Office has no dedicated staff patrolling the area, and the person or persons responsible did, in fact, get away with it, so far.
You’re right Steve, there are hikers, bicyclists, mountain-bikers, and passersby, in the area, but there is one person who is not, a Sheriff’s Patrol Deputy.