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Denise Huber Probably Dead, Investigator Says : Mystery: The missing waitress may have been killed by an acquaintance, a detective hired by her parents theorizes.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A private detective hired by the parents of Denise Anette Huber, the Newport Beach waitress who mysteriously disappeared after a rock concert three months ago, said Wednesday that he believes that she was probably killed and by someone she knew.

Huber was not a “victim of random circumstance,” said Logan Clark, owner of Clark International Investigations based in Lake Arrowhead.

“There are a lot of pieces of the puzzle that still need to be put together,” he said about the case that has drawn nationwide media attention. “But I have some ideas.”

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Costa Mesa police initially had theorized that Huber, 23, was on her way home June 2 from dropping off a friend after a concert at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood when a rear tire blew out on her car on the Corona del Mar Freeway. Huber was abducted as she walked to a call box, police have suspected.

But Clark, who was hired by Huber’s family two weeks ago, said he believes that it is more likely Huber was killed or abducted elsewhere. Her blue 1988 Honda Accord was then driven to the shoulder of the freeway and abandoned just south of the Bear Street exit, he said.

“If it happens to be the wrong scene of the crime, they will never solve it,” Clark said, adding that he is “80% sure” she is dead.

Costa Mesa Police Sgt. Ron Smith, head of the investigation, acknowledged that his department’s inquiry so far has not led to any suspects. Although stressing that detectives were still actively working on the case, he said he welcomed any help from Clark.

“We are pretty much letting them (Costa Mesa detectives) run their own investigation,” Smith said. “Hopefully, they will turn up something new. The parents are such nice, decent people that you hate to see them suffer so much.”

Smith, however, declined to assess Clark’s theories, saying that detectives have seen no hard evidence to support them.

“My approach is not to go chase theories (but to) concentrate on facts and keep an open mind to all possibilities,” Smith added.

Clark, who set up a command center in a room at the Marriott Residence Inn, near the spot where Huber’s car was found, said he and his team of eight investigators have tried to reconstruct the case from scratch.

They have turned up what Clark says is a three-hour period--between 2:15 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.--when Huber cannot be accounted for. Since nobody has come forth to say that Huber was seen at the side of the road just before her disappearance, she probably was not there at all, Clark theorized.

What is known is that Huber and a friend, Robert Calvert, went to a Morrissey concert together. Her boyfriend, Steve Horrocks, gave her the tickets when he unexpectedly had to work.

After the concert, Huber and Calvert went to have drinks with friends at El Paso Cantina in Long Beach, police and Clark said. At the cantina, Huber eventually met another man, identified only as Ross. The two left the restaurant and went to the parking lot for a short time, Clark said.

But afterward, sometime after 1:30 a.m., she and Calvert left the restaurant and took Pacific Coast Highway to Calvert’s Huntington Beach home. They stopped once, in Seal Beach, to buy cigarettes.

Calvert told police and Clark’s investigators that he was dropped off at 2:05 a.m.

Assuming that she dropped Calvert off shortly after 2 a.m., Clark said, there is a period of time when nobody can place Huber anywhere. The first known sighting of her Accord was at about 5:30 a.m., when a nearby resident saw the car parked on the freeway, its lights still on, and its windows rolled down.

A family friend found the car that night and alerted Huber’s parents, Dennis and Ione Huber of Newport Beach. All fingerprints had been wiped from the car, Clark said. Police would neither confirm nor deny that, saying only that no usable prints, including Huber’s, were found in the car.

Clark said he believes that the car was parked there near dawn and that the tire was made to look as if were blown out.

He said that he is now focusing his attention on finding people who drove by that area between 2:15 a.m. and 5:30 a.m., adding that he has already interviewed five drivers who told him they did not see the car during that period.

If a “preponderance” of drivers can confirm that they did not see the car, his theory is strengthened.

Clark also said Huber, who had known Calvert for more than four years, often visited him at his home but always drove to her Newport Beach home by way of Coast Highway--not the freeway.

Clark said he has been interviewing groups of friends to find out where she might have been during those three hours. In recent months, Huber had been spending time with several different groups, including musicians and “roadies” she met in a popular Hollywood night club.

“She had developed whole different sets of friends who were a world apart from each other,” Clark said.

She may have gotten into a fight with someone during the night, Clark suggested, who ended up killing her or abducting her. “I think something got out of hand,” Clark added.

Ione Huber said on Wednesday that she is anxious for the uncertainties to be resolved.

“We just felt that we need to do everything we can for her,” Ione Huber said, “because you have just got to for your own peace of mind. We’ve talked about this over and over. It’s so horrible. It’s terrible.”

Anyone with any information is urged to call the Costa Mesa Police Department at (714) 754-5202.


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