A headless torso discovered in a Bay Area levee may belong to a woman who was reported missing last week and whose husband committed suicide by jumping off the San Francisco Bay Bridge late Tuesday, authorities say.
Shelly Tichener, 57, of Brisbane, was last seen shopping at a department store on Feb. 15, according to authorities. Her husband, Paul Titchener, 62, is believed to have committed suicide just hours after he conducted a TV interview on his wife's disappearance.
“While we cannot confirm the body found is that of Shelly Titchener, we also cannot rule it out,” the Fremont Police Department said in a statement.
In a statement on Facebook, the couple’s son, James Titchener, confirmed that his father and mother were dead. He asked for privacy for him and his family.
“My mother Shelly Titchener and father Paul Titchener have recently passed,” he wrote on Facebook. “I hope that you will all respect the privacy of my family and I. Thank you to everyone who supported us in the search for my mother.”
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Coroner’s Bureau has referred all questions about the found torso to Fremont police.
The case of the missing woman took a macabre turn when people fishing near Dumbarton Pier reported finding a female torso about 8:16 p.m. Sunday, Fremont police said. Officers who responded to the call said they found the remains on a levee near Marshlands Road in Fremont.
As investigators pursued the case, they began looking into Shelly Titchener’s disappearance.
At the time she went missing, Brisbane police said Shelly Titchener voluntarily left her home over the weekend and indicated she would be with a friend for a couple of days. But after a few days, her friends and family never heard back from her. Her son later created a Facebook page hoping to draw leads about her disappearance.
In a TV interview Tuesday, Paul Titchener told a KRON reporter the night she disappeared the couple had had a disagreement.
“Maybe it was a red flag that her thinking wasn’t that clear,” he told the reporter. “She was a little upset at the time.”
On Wednesday, the day after Paul Titchener’s body was recovered, police conducted a search of the couple’s residence. Fremont Police also said that Tichener was considered to be a person of interest in his wife’s disappearance, although they did not name him as a suspect.
“We understand you are very concerned, however, please be aware this case is still under investigation,” Brisbane Police wrote in a short note on Facebook.
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