French investigators launch probe into mysterious death

Two detectives and a magistrate judge, recently arrived from Paris, begin their investigation today into the suspicious death of a French-American citizen who was found dead last year in his blood-spattered Hayes Valley apartment.

The French investigators have been granted access to evidence in the case of Hugues de la Plaza’s death in an agreement with local authorities and the U.S. Department of Justice. San Francisco homicide detectives have also begun to dig deeper, reinterviewing neighbors and friends last week of the 36-year-old sound engineer who was found dead June 2, 2007.

But more than one year since The City’s homicide unit said de la Plaza committed suicide by stabbing himself in the chest, neck and stomach, little has changed in the status of the investigation. A medical examiner’s report released in January cast further doubt on the mystery, calling the manner of death “undetermined.”

When San Francisco investigators arrived to de la Plaza’s Linden Street apartment last year, they found both doors dead-bolted shut. Investigators concluded there was no way an intruder could have entered or left the apartment, and a surveillance camera didn’t record any suspects.

The weapon used in de la Plaza’s death also could not be found. A television and a broken wine glass were found on the floor. A note reading, “learn as if you were to live forever, live as if you were to die tomorrow,” was found next to his bloody laptop. The medical examiner’s report notes that several foreign hairs were found on de la Plaza’s hands.

Those clues have been the impetus for friends such as Melissa Nix to pressure authorities to consider de la Plaza’s death a homicide. The parents of the victim have already hired a private investigator and have enlisted the help of several experts.

“We hope someone can run the necessary tests to solve this case,” Nix said. “San Francisco police keep telling us they can’t afford to expend the resources to do any further tests.”

San Francisco homicide Inspector Antonio Casillas declined to comment on the case Sunday, but a police representative said the San Francisco Police Department will cooperate in full with the French investigation.

French authorities aren’t the only ones responding to the case. Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi is expected to attend a march Saturday to call on police to look into de la Plaza’s death. Dozens of supporters will start at the Hall of Justice at 6 p.m. and walk to City Hall and then de la Plaza’s Hayes Valley apartment for a candlelight vigil.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

U.S. Attorney David Anderson announces federal firearms charges against two men for their roles in a March 2019 shooting outside the Fillmore Heritage Center in a news conference alongside SFPD staff at the Phillip Burton Federal Building on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Departing U.S. attorney predicts corruption probe will continue

David Anderson shook up City Hall as top federal prosecutor

Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, a former school board member, has been asked to help secure an agreement between the school district and teacher’s union. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
 <ins></ins>
Supervisor Walton tapped to mediate teacher contract talks

District and union at odds over hours in-person students should be in the classroom

California is set to receive supplies of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is still under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (Courtesy photo)
California could receive 380K doses of new J&J COVID vaccine next week

California could receive 380,300 doses of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine… Continue reading

Disability advocates protested outside the home of San Francisco Health Officer Tomas Aragon. (Courtesy Brooke Anderson)
Vaccine rollout plan for people with disabilities remains deeply flawed

On February 13, disability activists paid a visit to the house of… Continue reading

A Bay Area Concrete Recycling facility that opened on PG&E property in 2019. Former PG&E employees have been accused of accepting bribes from Bay Area Concrete. (Courtesy of Bay Area Concrete Recycling via ProPublica)
Lawsuit reveals new allegations against PG&E contractor accused of fraud

By Scott Morris Bay City News Foundation Utility giant Pacific Gas &… Continue reading

Most Read