Week In Review: 4-year delay in Marsh ID a mystery | TheUnion.com

Week In Review: 4-year delay in Marsh ID a mystery

The Union staff

The announcement Tuesday that the remains of a Nevada County man missing since April 2009 had been found in Riverside County raised more questions than answers.

Most notably, investigators declined to comment on why Isaiah Marsh's body was found in June 2009 but not identified until this month — even though DNA was collected and submitted to the state Department of Justice.

Marsh's truck had been found in Riverside County in May 2009 — but investigators also would not comment on its proximity to his remains.

"The investigators said they weren't going to put anything else out (on the vehicle) because it is an ongoing investigation," Riverside County Sheriff's Sgt. Lisa McConnell said Wednesday.

Marsh's disappearance shocked his friends and family; they pursued an aggressive campaign to search for him, holding vigils and setting up a fund to offer a reward for information about his disappearance.

Marsh's last cell phone transmission put the device in the Bullards Bar Reservoir area near North San Juan. The last reported development in Marsh's case was when his Ford F350 truck was found in May 2009 in Riverside County. At that time, Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal described the case as a likely homicide.

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According to a press release from Riverside County, Palm Desert Police officers found Marsh's body on June 12, 2009, after responding to a call in Desert Hot Springs. Sheriff's investigators from the Palm Desert station and the Central Homicide Unit were called out.

Consolidated Fire finds fault with grand jury report

The embattled Nevada County Consolidated Fire board of directors disagrees with the central premises of a scathing June report issued by the Nevada County Civil Grand Jury that claimed the board fell "woefully short in (its) roles and responsibilities."

Striking a note of defiance intermingled with acknowledgement of "inadvertent mistakes" and promises to rectify deficiencies, the board has crafted a draft response that pointed to a perfect storm of misfortune that led to a perception of a poorly managed fire district. Factors consisted of a drastically reduced operating budget and the exodus of the entire senior management team, including the fire chief, two battalion chiefs, a division chief, the human resources director and the board secretary within a year period, the board's response states.

Consolidated Fire directors argued they "stepped into the leadership vacuum to provide coaching, experience and support for firefighting staff that had been poorly developed for leadership roles by previous management." The board's response lays blame for apparent administrative dysfunction on departed officials such as Fire Chief Tim Fike and other members of the management staff citing "significant problems in district operations, policies and procedures."

The board's response struck a particularly strident note when addressing the grand jury's finding regarding "a complete breakdown of organizational structure and chain of command."

The board accused the grand jury of doing "a grave disservice" and "creating unnecessary doubt in the minds of our community" in regard to the fire district's ability to administer essential emergency services to the community. While Consolidated Fire has been beset by infighting and acrimony among rank and file, administration and directors, all parties have repeatedly asserted the infighting has not impaired operations.

Nevada County real estate market on upswing

Nevada County's once-battered home prices continue to rise alongside a statewide housing recovery where sales hit an eight-year high for July, according to real estate groups.

"We're having a really good summer," said Kathleen Hinman, a Nevada County Association of Realtors executive.

More homes sold in Nevada County in July than a year earlier, up to 139 from 111 in 2012, and those homes were on the market for an average of 70 days.

"We're having an active market place for our agents," Hinman said. "And they'd like to see more inventory."

The median price for a home sold in July in Nevada County was $295,000, up 41 percent from a year ago, according to figures from the Nevada County Association of Realtors. The average price of $253,933 was up nearly 14 percent from the same month in 2012.

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