Authorities today called off their search for a missing 22-year-old North County woman who disappeared last week under suspicious circumstances, allegedly after meeting up with a serviceman who subsequently was arrested on an unrelated weapon charge.
Officials with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department decided this morning to suspend their active efforts to find Brittany Killgore of Fallbrook, who was last seen in that rural community about 5 p.m. Friday, according to Jan Caldwell, a spokeswoman for the agency.
"Rather, we are concentrating our efforts on leads that have been developed," Caldwell said. She declined to elaborate.
Investigators believe that Killgore, whose estranged husband is deployed on combat duty overseas, was with 45-year-old Louis Ray Perez, a Marine based at Camp Pendleton, just before she went missing, homicide Lt. Larry Nesbit said.
"Based on our investigation to this point, we believe there is a strong likelihood Brittany is the victim of foul play," Nesbit said on Monday, as sheriff's personnel combed undeveloped open areas north of Fallbrook in search of Killgore.
The search-and-rescue operation was centered on the area of De Luz Canyon, near the Riverside County line, the lieutenant told reporters. He would not reveal the reason for that geographical focus.
Detectives questioned Perez about Killgore's disappearance before arresting him Sunday on suspicion of possessing a stolen AR-15 military assault rifle. He was being held at San Diego Central Jail on $500,000 bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
Nesbit said Perez had been "uncooperative and not completely forthcoming about his knowledge." The lieutenant would not comment on the nature of the missing woman's relationship with the serviceman.
Among the suspicious circumstances in the case was the fact that Killgore's cell phone was found by trolley security guards in the Gaslamp District of downtown San Diego, even though investigators do not believe she had gone there herself on the night she vanished, Nesbit told news crews.
The woman filed for divorce last week, according to court records. Her Camp Pendleton-stationed husband, Cory, reportedly is serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Killgore, a 5-foot-7-inch, roughly 130-pound brunette with brown eyes, was wearing a dark-purple evening gown with shiny floral patterns on it at the time of her disappearance.
— City News Service