DNA test to ID what may be missing man’s remains
A homicide investigation into the unsolved 1996 disappearance of Neil West will see another year as the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office still seeks to question his wife.
In the search for Teresa C. West, detectives “are confident she knows the Sheriff’s Office is attempting to contact her, but she hasn’t come forward as yet,” Capt. Mike Hanson said Tuesday.
Last week, Grass Valley police stopped a vehicle in which Teresa West might have been a passenger.
“That whole thing went nowhere,” Hanson said.
In November, human remains that detectives believe were West’s were unearthed near Lowell Hill Road after a county jail inmate disclosed knowledge of a previously undisclosed 6-year-old homicide.
That same inmate, James Swatman, pointed investigators to the burial, where bones wrapped in tarps were found.
Swatman also reported Neil West was abusive and that his wife, Teresa West, now 40, killed him with a shotgun blast in the couple’s trailer.
Teresa West isn’t a suspect but is wanted for questioning, and she’s believed to be in Nevada or Placer county.
One witness listed in a search warrant affidavit, Tanya Keysar of Alta, said Tuesday she hasn’t seen Teresa West since the recent funeral of a mutual acquaintance, William Fairchild, a cancer victim who resided in a neighboring trailer on the Wests’ property.
Keysar, according to a report, said the Wests and Fairchild were in a three-way sexual relationship.
Keysar described Teresa West as a “nice, loving, do- anything-for-you-type lady.”
Meanwhile, the Sheriff’s Office is awaiting DNA results from the state Department of Justice to learn if the bones were indeed Neil West’s. The DNA will be compared with DNA from Neil West’s daughter, who resides in Ohio.
“It’s just a matter of confirming what we believe we already know,” Hanson said, noting there has been no activity on Neil West’s Social Security number or other identification since roughly the last time he was seen.
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