Governor’s office offers $50K reward for information in 1993 Costa Mesa homicide

Alan Jay Shwalbe was found killed in unincorporated Costa Mesa in August 1993.
Alan Jay Shwalbe was found killed in unincorporated Costa Mesa in August 1993. DNA and other forensic evidence from the scene had been analyzed over the years, but have so far failed to identify any suspect or motive.
(Photo courtesy of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department)

Gov. Gavin Newsom is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the 1993 murder of Alan Schwalbe, a gay rights activist and real estate investor found stabbed to death in his Costa Mesa home.

The death is one of four cold cases in Orange and San Diego counties that have perplexed law enforcement officials and for which similar rewards are being offered, according to an announcement Friday. Orange County Sheriff’s Department investigators began reexamining the case in 2022, the Daily Pilot reported.

Schwalbe’s body was discovered the afternoon of Aug. 11, 1993, inside his home on the 300 block of 22nd Street in unincorporated Costa Mesa, the Los Angeles Times reported at the time of the incident.


He was found lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor, having been stabbed in the upper body several times. Nearby, the tap of a kitchen sink was still running, a reporter noted.

The 61-year-old was actively involved in various Democratic and LGBTQ organizations and was an outspoken advocate for gay rights and fair housing. He served on the board of the Fair Housing Council of Orange County from 1975 to 1985 and was a landlord of several properties in Orange, Los Angeles and San Diego counties, according to The Times.

Schwalbe was a teacher at Rea Elementary and TeWinkle Middle schools in Costa Mesa and at Corona del Mar High School in Newport Beach from 1961 until 1974, when he was convicted on 11 charges of child molestation and resigned.

A deputy district attorney who prosecuted the case told the Los Angeles Times in 1993 Schwalbe reportedly hired two male teenage students to clean apartments he owned, then watched pornographic movies and engaged in intercourse with them. He was sentenced to serve six months in jail.

Anyone who may have information about the murder is encouraged to contact Orange County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Bob Taft with the Department’s Cold Case Detail at (714) 647-7055 or


2:29 p.m. April 2, 2024: The story was updated to clarify the homicide investigation is being led by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.