NewsCovering Kern County


Cal City Police raise reward money for unsolved crime victims

Posted at 7:04 PM, Apr 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-12 02:26:01-04

CALIFORNIA CITY, Calif. — In California City, friends and family of victims came together to remember their loved ones on Thursday evening. Individuals came together to remember those whose cases are still unsolved.

Tonight, the Cal City Police Department has announced how they will be increasing their efforts to find answers for those people.

Cal City is raising the stakes, voting to increase rewards for 8 Cal City disappearances and homicides from $10,000 to $25,000 per case at a city council meeting on Thursday.

Chief of Police Eric Hurtado said thanks to the parcel tax that was passed last summer that his department has been able to hire three new detectives that will dedicate themselves to unsolved crimes in Cal City.

Detectives will be working on 8 unsolved homicides and disappearances dating back to as early as 2001.

Phillip ‘Pete’ Hammond
Missing since July 2017

Police say it was outside of the northern area of California City that Hammond was last seen. His car was found abandoned in same area. They say it appeared that Hammond lived in California City at the time.

Robert Austin Tharp
Missing since July 2014

Police say they know that Tharp was in a vehicle in California City with other people but don’t know where he went from there.

Desiree Thompson
Missing since January 2012

According to police, Thompson’s ex-husband Edward Gibson showed up at her door and pointed a shotgun at her. They say hours after that incident, she disappeared and so did Gibson.

Matthew Lininger

Police say Lininger was murdered in January of 2010 while he and his girlfriend were in her bed. There are no known suspects in this case.

Demetri Thomas

Police say Thomas was killed in July of 2014 in Cal City while visiting a friend. After arguments between a friend and other people, police say Thomas was killed in a drive-by shooting. Thomas is described as an innocent victim who happened to be there.

Charles Pieper

Police say Pieper was killed in 2012 during a home invasion. Police say he was along at home when he was shot and believe there are multiple suspects in Pieper’s murder.

Dr. Burdette Thorbus

Police say the murder of Thorbus happened in 2001 during a home invasion robbery. They believe that the suspects thought Thorbus wasn’t home and were surprised to find him there. Police say he was shot and killed inside his home and are looking for multiple suspects.

Deverrie Schiller

Police say Schiller was killed in Central Park in California City in the early morning on June 16, 2016. Police believe she fought for her life while being strangled. They are looking for multiple suspects.

If you have any information on any of the cases above, you can report anonymously at (661) 322-4040.