An apparent murder-suicide Saturday night at a Campbell shopping center brought a bloody close to a ten-year-old case that may have been mishandled by local authorities.
Eighteen months after Jeanine Sanchez Harms disappeared in 2001, Metro Silicon Valley published an investigation into what was then a high-profile missing-persons case. The piece, by staff writer Loren Stein, named Maurice Xavier Nasmeh as a likely suspect in the murder of Harms, a 42-year-old Campbell woman then living in Los Gatos.
Nasmeh was shot down Saturday by Harms’ brother, Wayne Sanchez, in what has been characterized as a vigilante slaying. Sanchez then turned his weapon on himself.
Metro’s 2003 article quoted several sources who criticized the handling of the case by the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department:
The police, who waited six months to classify Harms’ disappearance as a homicide, focused on two local men, both of whom were seen with Harms the night she disappeared. The first was 39-year-old William Alex Wilson III. The second man—and according to a police department spokesperson the one being more closely scrutinized now—is 43-year-old Maurice Xavier Nasmeh.
Both men were initially cooperative with the police, but that quickly stopped after they “lawyered up,” says Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department Capt. Alana Forrest. Neither has been arrested. …
At this time, police won’t confirm what the circumstantial evidence is, or specifically who it points to. If the circumstantial evidence is convincing, or if any new evidence turns up, the question on the minds of everybody connected to this case—family, friends, co-workers, police, private investigators, local politicians and lawyers—is, Who is going to be arrested? And how is it that this person (or persons) has been able to walk free for the past 18 months?”
Read the 2003 Metro story “Whatever Happened to Jeanine Harms?”
Read the SF Chronicle article on the Saturday’s apparent murder/suicide.
From the San Jose Mercury News: “Family: Harms’ brother believed suspect had ‘gotten away with murder’”