18 episodes

Police and podcasting? Say what?
It's true! Welcome to the Silicon Valley Beat, the Mountain View Police Department's foray into the world of audio. Each episode, we will go behind the scenes of what a police department looks like in the heart of Silicon Valley (can anyone say, Google?). We'll look at the history of policing, both near and far, and we'll even invite on some special guests as we take a look at law enforcement in the 21st century.
So plug in, podcasters. And enjoy any edition of the Silicon Valley Beat.

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

The Silicon Valley Beat Mountain View Police Department

    • Education
    • 4.9 • 22 Ratings

Police and podcasting? Say what?
It's true! Welcome to the Silicon Valley Beat, the Mountain View Police Department's foray into the world of audio. Each episode, we will go behind the scenes of what a police department looks like in the heart of Silicon Valley (can anyone say, Google?). We'll look at the history of policing, both near and far, and we'll even invite on some special guests as we take a look at law enforcement in the 21st century.
So plug in, podcasters. And enjoy any edition of the Silicon Valley Beat.

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    Case Closed

    Case Closed

    He almost got away with it. Almost, but not quite.
    Listen to the stunning conclusion of what happens when suspect Daniel Garcia is asked to simply tell the truth about what happened to Saba Girmai back in 1985.
    This is the final episode of our first limited edition series, Silicon Valley Beat: Major Crimes.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    [[Disclaimer: The Silicon Valley Beat, Major Crimes, is a podcast that deep-dives into major cases investigated by the Mountain View Police Department. Because this podcast covers investigations including critical incidents and homicides, what we discuss here may contain material that is not suitable for all listeners. Names and other sensitive information may be changed to protect the identity of the innocent.]]
    On last week’s episode -- investigators were finally able to meet the man they thought was a suspect in the death of 21-year-old Ethiopian immigrant Saba Girmai. But over the course of a two hour conversation, Daniel Garcia, suspect number one, suddenly began to break any and all theories about his involvement in the case, providing reasonable doubt at every turn. Then suddenly, the course of the conversation changes, and finally, the death of Saba Girmai may see some closure.
    This is the Silicon Valley Beat: Major Crimes.
    [[opening bumper]]
    Episode 5: Case Closed
    Saul Jaeger: “I got a lot to lose.” That was the moment that changed everything for Detective Chris Kikuchi and Investigator Nate Wandruff. Everything that had been assumed, every second that they felt their one shot at solving this case was slipping away, suddenly, they were right back in it. 
    Chris Kikuchi: When we first met, we always like to establish rapport with someone. We’ve never met them before. We asked questions related to his family, and he was very talkative, which is good, because anytime someone will speak, we just like letting them continue on as long as they do. Because we want that person to become comfortable speaking with the police. And he was. 
    Katie Nelson: Let’s look at that a little more closely. Why is rapport with anyone, but particularly a suspect, so important in investigations? According to the work Investigative Interviewing: Rights, Research, Regulation, published in 2006, rapport with an interview subject, including suspects, in a criminal case, is “the heart of the interview.” In fact, in a study titled: Police Interviewing and Interrogation, establishing some kind of rapport with a suspect was the fourth most used technique during questioning. In short, rapport in this case was a huge factor in establishing any sort of communication line between Daniel Garcia and the detectives. Having never met before, this rapport was vital to establishing a quick, but solidly built, foundation on which the interview could continue in hopes of having any resolution to the case. 
    Chris Kikuchi: He kind of portrayed himself as pretty relaxed as he was speaking with us. He was very talkative. He wasn’t asking too many questions, which you kind of expect. If detectives come out to speak with you during a probation meeting, he wasn’t asking a lot of questions, which I thought was peculiar. 
    Saul Jaeger: “Peculiar,” Kikuchi said. Remember, Kikuchi was concerned that this expedition down to Fresno would not lead to any results and thus far, he seemed to be somewhat right. But was Daniel Garcia’s lack of questions proof of his innocence? Or perhaps, proof that maybe, there is something more there? 
    Chris Kikuchi: As we were speaking, he just basically got into a little more detail about an incident that occurred regarding her basically stating she had scratched him. And that was how the DNA was under her fingernails. Unprovoked, she had scratched him. Again, that’s during some incident where she wa

    • 26 min
    Who is Daniel Garcia?

    Who is Daniel Garcia?

    Finally, when it seems like investigators are closing in on a man who may be connected to Saba Girmai's murder nearly thirty years later, it all begins to fall apart.
    In an hours-long interview with Fresno resident Daniel Garcia, detectives learn just how his DNA ends up under Saba's fingernails, and it's a perfectly plausible explanation.
    Once so full of hope, now investigators think that once again, Saba's killer may have slipped free.
    This is the fourth episode of our special edition podcast series, Silicon Valley Beat: Major Crimes.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    [[Disclaimer: The Silicon Valley Beat, Major Crimes, is a podcast that deep-dives into major cases investigated by the Mountain View Police Department. Because this podcast covers investigations including critical incidents and homicides, what we discuss here may contain material that is not suitable for all listeners. Names and other sensitive information may be changed to protect the identity of the innocent.]]
    On last week’s episode -- a new lead brought a new hope to a decades-old cold case. But as we began to reinvestigate the case, Saba’s life in and around Mountain View continued to remain shrouded in mystery, even more than two decades later. 
    But with DNA evidence now tying a known criminal to the case, the question becomes -- how did Daniel Garcia know Saba Girmai?
    This is the Silicon Valley Beat: Major Crimes.
    [[Opening bumper]]
    Episode 4: Who is Daniel Garcia?
    Katie Nelson: At the time, Garcia’s formative years were spent in a city once known as being part of “the Valley of Hearts’ Delight.” San Jose, once a bountiful farming and orchard community, began to shift into more of a concrete jungle towards the 1980s with the impetus of Silicon Valley beginning to show in companies that planted their seeds in and around the area, including Intel and IBM. 
    San Jose’s population in the 1980s boasted more than 620,000 people, up from less than 450,000 just a decade earlier. Today, San Jose is home to more than 1 million people, making it one of the largest cities in the country. 
    Fresno, Garcia’s new home, very much mirrored the growth of San Jose. Once a small farming community, Fresno has grown into a city of more than half a million people, making it the fifth most populous city in the state. San Jose is the third most populous. 
    Daniel Garcia was no stranger to brushes with the law. In and out of the justice system for a majority of his adult life, the arrest record for Garcia was decades old, with crimes running the gamut. In fact, his adult record begins when he was just 20 years old, living in the San Jose area. 
    In the span of seven years, from 1979 to 1986, Garcia was arrested five times by the San Jose Police Department. His arrests included multiple incidents where he was under the influence of a controlled substance and, at least once, he resisted arrest. 
    His record begins to show even more aggressive behavior after he moved to the Fresno area. He was arrested for willfully harming a child, assault with a deadly weapon, sexual battery, and driving under the influence, among other charges. 
    His last arrest -- in December 2012 -- was just one month before he would meet Detective Chris Kikuchi and Investigator Nate Wandruff.
    [[interlude]]
    Saul Jaeger: But his arrest record doesn’t make up all of who Daniel Garcia is. Like every person, there’s more to his story.
    Daniel Garcia also is a father of four. He is a brother. And, he has a father who lives in Mexico, but they aren’t close. Daniel was a Bay Area native, born in San Jose, where he actually lived in the 1980s, after he left high school in Fresno. At least one former girlfriend would describe him as ‘cool.’
    When speaking with investigators, Garcia noted if he had stayed in high sc

    • 14 min
    A New Hope

    A New Hope

    Nearly 25 years after Saba was killed, a lead on this decades-old cold case emerges.
    But with this new hope comes an almost "too good to be true" feeling for one detectives.
    "Who in their right mind would admit to killing someone?" he wonders.
    But, he has a lead to follow, a case to build. It just comes down to one thing -- whether or not the man whose DNA is under the victim's fingernails admits to what he's done or, some believe more likely, provides the perfect seed of doubt to bring down the entire investigation.
    This is the third episode of our special edition podcast series, Silicon Valley Beat: Major Crimes.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    [[Disclaimer: The Silicon Valley Beat, Major Crimes, is a podcast that deep-dives into major cases investigated by the Mountain View Police Department. Because this podcast covers investigations including critical incidents and homicides, what we discuss here may contain material that is not suitable for all listeners. Names and other sensitive information may be changed to protect the identity of the innocent.]]
    On last week’s episode we talked about -- DNA, the ultimate tool to use to pursue investigative leads in a case. In 1985, in a remarkable adaptation well ahead of its time, a Santa Clara County coroner clipped fingernails that could, one day, hold the secrets to Saba’s killer. The investigation hit snags though, and soon turned cold. But when a new lead shows up more than two decades later, we have to ask ourselves -- are cold cases ever really cold?
    This is the Silicon Valley Beat: Major Crimes.
    [[Opening bumper]]
    EPISODE 3: A NEW HOPE
    Saul Jaeger: The start of the holiday season, a time of hope and goodwill. 
    In 2008, while some began to string up lights at their home, gather family around to celebrate good tidings and cheer, at the Mountain View Police Department, it was a time of reflection, and certainly of cautious hope. 
    On December 1, then Captain Max Bosel was head of the Mountain View Police Department’s Investigative Services Division, home to the trove of detectives who investigate cases ranging from homicide, to robbery, to kidnapping, to cold cases. 
    “While assigned as the Special Operations Captain,” Bosel wrote in a supplemental report, “I reviewed the January 18, 1985 homicide of Saba Girmai. Based on the fact that the victim’s body was lifted into the dumpster where she was found, I believed the suspect’s contact DNA could have been left on the victim’s clothing or property. This technology was not available during the initial investigation.”
    “I inquired about the availability of evidence items in order to determine if there was physical evidence that could be analyzed for DNA,” Bosel went on to write. 
    In his report, Bosel noted that five items were re-sent in hopes that, perhaps, after 23 years, advances in technology could present an opportunity to re-examine the case and perhaps even identify and arrest the person responsible for Saba’s gruesome murder. 
    Katie Nelson: Those five items included:
    -- her black, plastic wrist watch, that had been found on her left wrist
    -- her blouse 
    -- a sample of her scalp hair
    -- a sample of hair from other areas of her body
    -- and, fingernail clippings from both of her hands
    While he was never arrested, Bosel noted that the man some had described as Saba’s boyfriend was still a person of interest and, following any results from the Crime Lab, “should be contacted for an interview.”
    [[interlude]]
    The incredible news came in the form of an unremarkable fax on January 12, 2010, just after 6 a.m.
    In a letter dated just days before, a CODIS administrator with the California DNA Data Bank Program, a section of the California Department of Justice, wrote a letter to the Santa Clara County District Attorney

    • 17 min
    Then and Now

    Then and Now

    The case seemed open and shut -- someone was lying. Or was it that simple?
    It doesn't seem like a long time ago, but it's been more than 30 years since Saba's death, and in that time, technology has advanced at a rate far faster than most developments.
    So we have to ask ourselves -- could this case, as it was, have been solved with the tools of the trade at the time?
    This is the second episode of our special edition podcast series, Silicon Valley Beat: Major Crimes.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    [[Disclaimer: The Silicon Valley Beat, Major Crimes, is a podcast that deep-dives into major cases investigated by the Mountain View Police Department. Because this podcast covers investigations including critical incidents and homicides, what we discuss here may contain material that is not suitable for all listeners. Names and other sensitive information may be changed to protect the identity of the innocent.]]
    Saul Jaeger: On last week’s episode -- a young woman, newly transplanted to the Bay Area, found dead in a dumpster. A 20-something immigrant, in the prime of her life, taken too soon. Her death puzzles investigators -- who killed Saba Girmai? The one lead detectives had -- a lie detector test that indicated Saba’s apparent boyfriend wasn’t being so truthful about his relationship with her. But was that enough to pursue him as a potential suspect in her murder?
    This is The Silicon Valley Beat: Major Crimes. 
    [[Opening bumper]]
    Episode 2: Then and Now
     
    Katie Nelson: It would have appeared that police had a major lead. 
     
    ‘Deception indicated’ reeks of foul play, or at the very least, that something was wrong. Or, does it? 
    The investigation into finding Saba’s killer seemingly comes to a stop in April, 1985. There are no notes beyond that the polygraph exam showed something was perhaps amiss between Saba and her alleged boyfriend. There was no glaring error, no hesitation in his responses, no obvious sign of a tell that he was lying. 
     
    In short, it simply wasn’t enough. In California, for lie detector test results to be admissible in court as evidence, both the prosecution and the defense have to agree on their use. 
    Saul Jaeger: John Larson, a medical student working for the Berkeley Police Department, invented the first polygraph in 1921. This first polygraph simultaneously traced a subject’s blood pressure and respiration. Under Larson’s assumptions, irregularities in blood pressure and breathing patterns would indicate lies. 
    Katie Nelson: But that’s for the modern technology, when in fact for centuries, humans have looked for reliable means to detect lies. In ancient Hindu and Chinese civilizations for example, authorities would look for lies by asking a suspect to chew a grain of rice and then try and spit it out. In China, a dry grain of rice would be indicative that the person was lying. In India, rice was believed to stick to the mouth of those who were guilty. 
    So, by April 1985, the investigation had stalled mainly because the evidence trail went cold. And truthfully, that is something that many departments grapple with on a daily basis. 
     
    In some cases, this reality haunts us. Because who knows what could have been, what steps could have been the turning point if we had just had one more piece of evidence, or one more lead? But talk to anyone who later worked on this case and you will hear a unanimous agreement that in Saba’s case, at the time detectives did everything they could to try and pinpoint her murderer. But with no DNA evidence, no cameras, no witnesses, it certainly made the investigation that much more difficult. 
     
    Saul Jaeger: What is fascinating here is just how much work the detectives actually did at the time that ended up being game-changers when advances in investigative techni

    • 18 min
    The Body in the Dumpster

    The Body in the Dumpster

    It was a dewy January morning, just two days before the Bay Area would host its first Super Bowl, right in Mountain View's backyard at Stanford Stadium.
    When a man picking through the trash comes across a body while hoping to find some cans to earn a few extra bucks, the police are called. The story starts like this: A young woman, strangled to death, seemingly without any identity whatsoever. Her case baffles detectives.
    As they slowly learn about who the woman was, and where she came from -- her story spanning continents and major global moments that led to massive aid movements -- another pressing question begins to enter their minds: who would want to harm her? Who would discard her behind a grocery store, in a sleepy Silicon Valley town, and more importantly, why?
    Could a murder really happen in the home of high tech?
    This is the first episode of our special edition podcast series, Silicon Valley Beat: Major Crimes.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    For those in need of audio assistance, or who are hard of hearing, we have included a transcript of this podcast for you here. Please see below.
    [[Disclaimer: The Silicon Valley Beat, Major Crimes, is a podcast that deep-dives into major cases investigated by the Mountain View Police Department. Because this podcast covers investigations including critical incidents and homicides, what we discuss here may contain material that is not suitable for all listeners. Names and other sensitive information may be changed to protect the identity of the innocent.]]
     
    [[Opening bumper]]
    Episode 1: The Body in the Dumpster
     
    Saul Jaeger: He started the morning like he had others before – shuffling through dumpsters behind the Safeway on Stierlin Road, looking for any cans for which he could get maybe a couple bucks. It was early still, just before 7:30 a.m. on what witnesses, and police reports, described as a dewy January morning. He may get lucky.
     
    As he leaned over to pluck through the trash, the man startled. Amongst the cardboard boxes and the discarded fruits and vegetables, a leg poked out from one of the dumpster bins, dark in color. The man wasn’t sure if it was a mannequin, or worse, a body. He ducked back to the rear of the store, and alerted a manager. Something wasn’t right. 
    [[steps on gravel]]
     
    The manager, and a few employees, walked back outside to the open dumpster, lids thrown back well before the man looking for cans arrived. Dew dusted the discarded waste, and as soon as the manager leaned over to inspect what was within, he turned around and went inside to call the police. 
     
    [[Siren blaring]]
     
    A two-man fire crew were first on scene. Leaning into the bin, one firefighter reached out for a pulse, putting his two fingers to a wrist. The wrist was cold -- too cold. He stepped back and waited for the police to arrive. 
     
    It was January 18, 1985.
     
    [[”Careless Whisper” by Wham! begins to play, newscasts of time overlap as reports are read]]
     
    Katie Nelson: That January was known as a “one of the most intense arctic outbreaks,” according to the National Weather Service. Wayne Gretsky scored his 400th career goal that month. VH1 debuted, and Madonna owned the radio waves with her “Like a Virgin.” Two days later, the first Super Bowl hosted in the Bay Area, at Stanford Stadium, would be televised across the US on three major networks. 
     
    More locally, Silicon Valley was in its “Golden Age,” where tech was booming and we began to see the first iterations of the lore that this section of the Bay Area holds for modern day entrepreneurs. The CD-ROM had recently been introduced by Sony and Philips, revolutionizing the way in which we would come to share information and entertainment in the coming years. Apple had introduced the Macintosh just one year before in J

    • 26 min
    Now is Good

    Now is Good

    Who comprises your tribe in the fight against cancer? What is your 'why' as you fight?
    And, how does the Pink Patch play a part of that?
    Settle in to our latest, and very special, podcast as we chat with Jodie Pierce, the founder of the Pink Patch Project here at the Mountain View Police Department. Pierce, a cancer survivor herself, talks about her battle, what the Pink Patch means to her, and even more so, how the Pink Patch connects us all.
    We're here to fight with you. We're here to stand up against cancer with you.
    Welcome to a very memorable episode of the Silicon Valley Beat.

    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
22 Ratings

22 Ratings

Top Podcasts In Education

Listeners Also Subscribed To