Friday, July 13, 2018 – 10:28 a.m.
Delilah Garcia was the lead detective for the Glendale, California Police Department's investigation of the 2000 murder of Ivan Riesling.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy spoke by phone to Detective Garcia about the cold case.
- Detective T. Armstrong, YCSD
- Detective S. Murphy, YCSD
- Detective D. Garcia, Glendale (CA) PD
Detective Murphy: Thanks for taking the time, Detective Garcia.
Detective Garcia: Sure. I'll be glad to help.
Detective Murphy: Whatever happened with the investigation into the murder of Ivan Riesling in 2000?
Detective Garcia: Nothing. It was never solved. I guess technically it's still my case, although it's been considered cold since late 2000.
Detective Murphy: What kept the case from being solved?
Detective Garcia: It was weird. I got to the scene, and immediately I'm thinking, this is a simple burglary gone bad. The back door is busted in, the den is a wreck, and the victim is dead in his shorts. Seemed like he woke up one night, heard somebody downstairs, confronted them, and got bashed in the head.
Detective Murphy: Did you find the murder weapon?
Detective Garcia: Yeah. It was a fireplace poker. We found it just thrown over in a corner. No prints on it. We figured the perp was wearing gloves, but the victim's blood was all over it. So anyway, I'm thinking this is a break-in, but as far as anyone can tell, nothing was taken. I initially figured that the perp must have just freaked out over killing someone and dashed out, without thinking to actually steal anything, but who knows what these guys think?
Detective Murphy: So what made you think that it might not have been a simple burglary?
Detective Garcia: I can't really cite any specifics. There was just this general sense that there was more to it. Then, when we started checking into Riesling's personal life, it was pretty messy, so that raised more questions.
Detective Armstrong: Like what?
Detective Garcia: Well, this guy Riesling seemed to be a real smooth guy. Handsome, like a movie star. Had a pretty good job as an editor with a magazine. Those guys don't usually make a tremendous amount of money until they really hit the big time, but it seemed like a glamorous job anyway. But when we started looking, there was really a mess.
Detective Armstrong: Oh yeah?
Detective Garcia: He had this girlfriend, and by all accounts, they fought like cats and dogs. This girl became a real regular at the ER, but there was never any solid evidence that Riesling was doing it. And she defended him every step of the way.
Detective Armstrong: Happens way too often.
Detective Garcia: Ain't that the truth. So then we find out Riesling was sleeping around. We found more floozies than you can imagine that this guy was seeing. I don't know how he had time for them all.
Detective Murphy: What about this girlfriend?
Detective Garcia: Name was Natalie Posner. Her life story was pretty messy itself. Came from a broken home, tough circumstances, bounced around. The usual hard luck story. Scored a scholarship to USC, which is where she met Riesling. After they started dating, she quit school and went to work for his magazine.
Detective Murphy: Whatever happened to her?
Detective Garcia: I don't have any idea. That's another thing that seemed to indicate this might not be a basic break-in. She disappeared. Just gone. We never got to talk to her. Far as we could tell, a few of her things were missing from the house, but a lot was still there like maybe she left in a big hurry.
Detective Armstrong: Did she take off before or after Riesling was killed?
Detective Garcia: We couldn't pin that down. Co-workers said they hadn't seen her for about a week before Riesling's body was found, but they also said she sometimes didn't come in for days at a time. They figured she was staying home until the bruises healed enough that she could cover them with makeup.
Detective Armstrong: Any of them ever try to help her?
Detective Garcia: If they did, no one ever said so to us.
Detective Armstrong: Nice bunch of folks.
Detective Garcia: Yeah, well, you know how it is.
Detective Murphy: Any idea where she might've gone?
Detective Garcia: Her car was found abandoned in Bakersfield two weeks after Riesling got killed, but we never found her.
Detective Armstrong: Any indication Riesling might've killed her before he got taken out and that's why she stopped showing up at work?
Detective Garcia: It's a possibility. We've occasionally had people claim they saw her, but nothing that panned out.
Detective Murphy: When was the last contact or sighting of her?
Detective Garcia: We don't even have confirmation of this, but a co-worker of Riesling's claimed he'd seen her at a ski lodge in Aspen in 2015. By the time anyone got there to investigate, this mystery person was gone, but the witness could've been wrong. We don't know for sure that was her.
Detective Murphy: Why wasn't she given more attention? We didn't find her name very much in the news coverage.
Detective Garcia: Well, we didn't have any real, concrete evidence against her. There was no physical evidence linking her to the crime. I mean, it is odd that she disappears right when he's murdered, but at the same time, a battered woman dating a womanizer finally leaves? Good for her. The timing is bad, but what if she suddenly woke up and decided to hell with him? There have certainly been stranger coincidences than her leaving the same time that her abusive boyfriend is killed by a crackhead doing a B and E.
Detective Armstrong: It sounds like you don't suspect her.
Detective Garcia: Oh, I suspect her. We searched for her like crazy. It's just that we had nothing solid. We can't go around throwing her name to the media as a suspect when we have no solid evidence. Plus, we kinda hoped that if we kept quiet, she would surface sooner or later. But she never has so far.
Detective Armstrong: So if she's a suspect, what's her motive?
Detective Garcia: She's pissed. Simple as that. I'm no psychologist, but it seems pretty clear to me that a kid who has had a crappy life, quits school and puts all her eggs in one basket with a guy, but he starts beating her and sleeping around, then she might just get a little mad. I think there's more than enough motive there. I just can't prove it.
Detective Murphy: How do you think she's managed to stay hidden so well?
Detective Garcia: For one, she's never had much of anything at all. Rich people go on the run, and they always screw up because they've got to have that Mercedes or they've got to try and move their money to the Caymans or something. Poor people have done without their whole lives, so it's not new to them. Natalie was doing okay when she and Riesling were together, but she's essentially been in the trailer park her whole life. She had a real tough gig. It was easy for her to take a change of clothes, leave her apartment, ditch her car, then slide into the whisper stream and disappear.
Detective Murphy: Do you think she could've changed her appearance at all?
Detective Garcia: That's entirely possible. One report said that she really underwent a change when she went to school. Dyed her hair, got some contacts, and suddenly, she's hot. The little girl from the trailer park started really making an impression on people. So I guess it's possible that she could have reinvented herself again.
Detective Armstrong: Sounds like finding her might be a pretty tough job.
Detective Garcia: Yep. Something we couldn't pull off.
Detective Armstrong: Do you have her fingerprints on file or her DNA? Anything we can use to confirm her ID if we do find her?
Detective Garcia: No DNA. We've got some prints we found in her and Riesling's apartment that we're pretty sure are hers, but she was never arrested or printed for a job that we could find, so no known prints.
Detective Armstrong: Would you mind shooting us a copy of that incident report when you get a chance?
Detective Garcia: Sure thing. I've got court this morning, but I'll pull a copy and email it over later today.
Detective Murphy: And if you've got any more information about Natalie Posner?
Detective Garcia: You got it. I'll send you what we have, but it's not much.
Detective Murphy: Well, thanks for your time, and we'll let you know if we come up with anything.
Detective Garcia: Thanks. I hope you do.
Interview ended – 10:57 a.m.