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For week ended March 12, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
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Sent on Mormon-News: 10Mar00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Fear of LDS Doctor's Storage Leads Police To Evacuate Neighborhood
(In California, a toxic web of guns and money)
Toronto Canada National Post 10Mar00 D2
By Paul Waldie: National Post
'An absolute mess': Shooting suspect killed self -- but did he set biological booby traps?

IRVINE, CALIFORNIA -- The puzzling suicide of Dr. Larry Ford, and LDS Church member with all three of his children currently attending BYU, has gained notoriety throughout North America as Orange County police had to evacuate 48 homes in his neighborhood for fear of biological booby traps he might have set before killing himself. Police suspect that Ford ordered the murder of his business partner, James Riley, who is recovering from a gunshot wound to the face. Ford killed himself a day after police searched his home.

Just days after Ford's death, police received tips that he had buried guns and biological waste around his home in a wealthy Irvine, California neighborhood, leading them to evacuate a school and 48 homes. The city has paid for rooms for the evacuated residents at a local hotel. Yesterday hazardous-waste experts and a bomb disposal unit went to his house and began digging, recovering more than a dozen guns but no biological waste. Ford's former lawyer, Stephen Klarich, said, "It's an absolute mess here. It looks like the movie ET with tents out front and people wearing these funny uniforms digging and looking for things."

Police arrested Din D'Saachs, 56, last Monday as the suspected getaway man in a scheme to murder James Riley, Ford's business partner in the biological start-up Biofem Pharmaceuticals. D'Saachs has pleaded not guilty, but a search of his home found a book describing how to be a hit man, guns and ammunition, a deed to Mr. Riley's house and a map showing the location of Riley's parking spot, where the murder attempt occurred. D'Saachs also was a friend of Dr. Ford for 15 years.

On Thursday, March 2nd, the day after police spent four hours searching his house, Ford met with his lawyer, Mr. Klarich for about four hours. He returned home about noon, went to his bedroom and shot himself in the head. "I don't know what his motivating factor was," Mr. Klarich said. "But I was shocked. I was crying, I was so upset."

Ford left notes for his family, according to family friend Bill Bollard, "From those notes, it's clear to the family that [he shot himself] because he loved his family and he wanted to spare them what he thought would be a long, drawn-out and bitter investigation," Mr. Bollard said. "But he maintained his innocence, that he had nothing to do whatsoever with the shooting of his partner." His family finds the allegations against him unbelievable, said Bollard. He says his oldest son, Larry Jr., "made it clear that his dad would never do anything that would harm either family members or the community in any way,"

Ford was remembered at a funeral Wednesday, March 8th at his LDS ward, which was attended by 700 people. At the funeral, Ford was remembered as a brilliant and generous doctor, who was seeking to improve life for millions. Many at the funeral received free medical treatment from Dr. Ford for Church-related activities and for charitable purposes.

But others point to questions in Ford's background, including the fact that he was fired from a teaching position at the University of California at Irvine last year after testifying against a colleague in a malpractice lawsuit. The University lost the suit.

Soon after Ford's suicide, the police received tips that he had hidden biological waste in his car and home and that he might have buried material in his yard. The police soon found Ford's weapons collection, which family members say they told the police about. They say that Ford owned more than a dozen collectable guns, including a revolutionary war-period musket.

Police did locate 20-30 small jars with unknown substances in them, but these materials haven't been identified. And late Thursday, Police located six plastic cylinders underneath a concrete slab in Ford's backyard. However, police have not yet identified what is in the cylinders. Since Ford is rumored to have worked as a researcher for a federal intelligence agency, police are very concerned that the material may be illegal or toxic. They were to be taken today to an FBI crime lab for testing.

Family members are confident that Dr. Ford's reputation will be exonerated in the end, "If he buried anything back there, anything that's uncovered, it will be clear that it is not harmful, it is not booby-trapped," Mr. Bollard said. "It's just an awful situation for the family."

See also:

Loved ones bid farewell to Ford
Orange co CA Register 9Mar00 D2
By Mayrav Saar: The Orange County Register
MYSTERIES: Levity mingles with sadness and affection as family and friends puzzle over his suicide.

Irvine area is evacuated
Orange co CA Register 9Mar00 D2
By Heather Lourie: The Orange County Register
INVESTIGATION: Neighbors of the Biofem doctor who killed himself are ordered out amid another toxic scare.

Evacuation for Irvine homes?
Orange co CA Register 8Mar00 D2
By Heather Lourie: The Orange County Register
ENVIRONMENT: Hazardous materials might be planted around Woodbridge residences.

Nature of chemicals eludes observers
Orange co CA Register 9Mar00 D2
By Pat Brennan: The Orange County Register
INVESTIGATION: And authorities won't say what they might be looking for.

'I'm not staying around. Would you?'
Orange co CA Register 9Mar00 D2
By Monica Valencia: The Orange County Register
IRVINE: Disruption rules the day in Woodbridge of residents of more than 40 homes leave on the city's orders.

Weapons cache in Irvine?
Orange co CA Register 10Mar00 D2
By Mayrav Saar and Heather Lourie: The Orange County Register
EVACUATION: Authorities find buried cylinders that they fear might contain hazardous materials and illegal arms.


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