Alibi check: Mark Eldridge
YCSD investigators interviewed the friends Mark Eldridge said were hiking with him the day he found the victim's body.
The witnesses, whose statements are provided below in summary and not verbatim, were questioned about Mark Eldridge's whereabouts on that morning from the time they convened until the time when Mr. Eldridge found the body.
Mr. Hanson said he and the others met Mr. Eldridge around 5:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 9th to go hiking.
Hanson said the men chatted for a few minutes and then separated. Hanson said he later heard someone or something running through the woods and saw Eldridge in the distance running toward his vehicle. Hanson said, when he heard the sirens a few minutes later, he also returned to the area where the men had parked.
Hanson said, when he arrived at the parking area, Eldridge told him that he had called 911 because he had found a body in the woods.
Hanson said he did not see the body himself, and when shown a photograph of the victim, said he did not recognize her.
Hanson estimated that Eldridge was out of his sight for 20-30 minutes and said he believes that Eldridge would not have had enough time to kill the victim.
Hanson said he did not see anyone other than the members of his hunting party in the vicinity that day until YCSD officers arrived.
Mr. Harris said Mr. Eldridge and the other hunters in the group met on the morning of Sunday, June 9th around 4:45 or 5:00 a.m.
Harris said the group split up around 5:15 a.m., and he was alone until he heard the sirens nearby, at which time he returned to his vehicle.
Harris said when he arrived at the area where the men had parked, Hanson was there alone and a YCSD squad car was parked alongside the hunting party's vehicles. Harris said Hanson told him that Eldridge had found a body in the woods and was escorting the officer to that location.
Harris said he didn't want to get in the way of the police and their investigation, so he left the scene in his vehicle.
Harris said he did not see the body himself, and when shown a photograph of the victim, said he had never seen her.
Harris said he did not see Eldridge again that day, and said he thought that, given the amount of time between when the men split up and when Harris heard the sirens, Eldridge would not have had enough time to kill the victim.
Hanson said he did not see anyone other than the members of his hunting party in the vicinity that day. When asked what they were hunting for this time of year, Hanson said he obviously meant to say hiking party because it's not currently hunting season, though the men do go hunting together when it is.
Mr. Martin said that he, Mr. Eldridge, Mr. Harris and Mr. Hanson all arrived around 5:00 a.m. at the site off Highway 7 where they were going to hike on Sunday, June 9th.
Martin said they separated shortly after they arrived, and as far as he knew, he and the other hikers were all on their own until they heard the sirens.
Martin said when he heard sirens approaching their location, he returned to the area where the men had parked and saw Hanson and a YCSD squad car. Martin said Hanson told him that Eldridge had found a body and was showing the officer where it was located.
Martin said he followed in the direction Hanson indicated Eldridge and the officer had gone in. Martin said he never reached the clearing because, on his way there, he met Eldridge, who was returning to the parking area at the officer's instruction.
Martin said he and Eldridge returned to the parking area together and found that Harris' car was no longer there. Martin said Hanson told them Harris had left, which Martin characterized as "just like Harris."
Martin said he did not see Eldridge between the time the men separated around 5:15 a.m. and the time he ran into him in the woods, but in his opinion, Eldridge would not have had time to kill the victim or position her as she was.
Martin said he did not see anyone other than his friends in the vicinity that day until YCSD officers arrived.