Parents file claim after son’s death near Redwood City train tracks

The parents of a 34-year-old man whose death near the Redwood City train tracks in May remains an unsolved mystery have filed a $15 million claim for damages against San Mateo County and other public agencies.

Tim Singer was found lying near the tracks May 1 and later died. Authorities still aren’t sure whether he fell and hit his head, was hit by a train or was assaulted, said Sgt. Linda Gibbons of the sheriff’s office.

Singer, a Redwood City resident, had been drinking and was intoxicated before his death, Gibbons said. Responding officers originally thought he may have fallen, but a doctor at Stanford Hospital said the injuries to his head were “more consistent with blunt force trauma,” suggesting an assault, Gibbons said. Singer died on May 9.

Authorities treated the death as a homicide, but still have not found any eyewitnesses or motive for a potential killer.

“There is no evidence to support that he was assaulted,” Gibbons said, “but the lingering, unanswered question is, ‘Is there still a possibility it could be a homicide?’ Yes.”

Singer’s parents, Richard and Beverly Singer, filed the claim in October alleging negligence by the county and other public agencies. County supervisors rejected it last month.

The family’s attorney, John Kristensen, said the Singers filed the claim so they have an option to file a lawsuit later. Legal claims must be filed within six months of an incident.

Redwood City Attorney Pamela Thompson said the city “is confident that the police department responded timely and acted appropriately.” Scott Johnson, the county’s risk manager, said the county is investigating the claim.

Gibbons said the investigation is still open and she is reviewing the four-inch-thick case file for potential untapped leads.

sbishop@sfexaminer.com

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