Person of interest sought in murders

Law enforcement officials announced yesterday they are seeking a “person of interest” in an eight-year double murder case involving a La Cañada couple.

In August, the San Bernandino County Sheriff Department’s cold case division re-opened the investigation into the murder of Harold “Skip” and Joni Tillman. A witness has since come forward with information that may help investigators find the party responsible for murders.

On Feb. 9, 2000, the Tillmans’ bodies were found in two isolated desert graves in Yucaipa, about 75 miles east of La Cañada. They were found after a hiker discovered their well- groomed Maltese, Teddy, lying on the ground. The pet had most likely died of exposure.

Investigators were called out and soon discovered the two graves. The couple lived in the 5000 block of Bramblewood Road. They was last seen on Feb. 6, 2000 after having dinner at J.J. Steakhouse in Pasadena. At the time of their deaths the couple was involved in three civil disputes. There was no evidence linking the couple’s legal trouble to their murders. Investigators found that the couple had dropped their dinner companions off at 9 p.m. and that was the last anyone heard from them.

According to a release from Det. Casey Jiles, recently a witness has come forward and informed investigators that he saw a man in the desert area about five days before the Tillmans’ bodies were found. He was driving a late 1980’s, early 1990’s light green Ford Bronco near the crime scene. The man was described as a white in his late 20’s to 30’s with shoulder length brown or black hair and wearing a dark colored baseball hat high on his forehead. The witness said the man was acting suspicious as he drove past in his Bronco and there was another man in the passenger seat. He was able to provide a detailed description to investigators, who have released a composite drawing of the man. The witness was not able to provide the same detail concerning the passenger.

Investigators cannot confirm that the man is involved in the murder but is seeking information to his identity. Anyone with information can contact the San Bernandino County Sheriff’s Department (760) 245-4211. Anonymous calls can be made to (800) 782-7463.

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