Spotlight back on ’79 killings

The 29-year-old triple homicide in San Mateo now known as “The Payless Murders,” has never been a favorite topic of conversation for the victims’ family members.

But now, empowered by a $75,000 reward offered by the Governor’s office, San Mateo Police Officers Association, and the Carole Sund/Carrington Foundation, the families have gone public with their stories.

They discussed how their lives were interrupted when they first heard the news that Michael Olson, Tracy Anderson and William Baumgartner had been shot and killed during a robbery at the Payless Super Drug Store on Concar Drive on Feb. 4, 1979.

Amy Olson, the daughter of victim Michael Olson, was just a baby when her father died. She cried as she talked about not remembering her father.

The 1979 case has been haunting not only family members, but also three generations of investigators who attempted to solve it. Detective Matt Earnshaw, president of the police association, said that’s why the officers decided to contribute $15,000 to the reward.

San Mateo police launched the last full-blown investigation three years ago in hopes that new technology could help uncover additional information. After exhausting all avenues, they requested a reward from the Governor’s office to give a new incentive to any witnesses before it becomes too late.

“Don’t let these families wait until the murder’s 30th anniversary,” said Deputy Chief Mike Callagy.

Anyone with information is asked to call the San Mateo police at (650) 522-7675.

svasilyuk@examiner.com

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