The gruesome discovery of human remains at the home of a missing elderly man on a quiet street in the Outer Mission has stunned neighbors who said the man kept to himself and lived alone until recently.
Police have launched a homicide investigation after officers looking into the disappearance of 73-year-old Benedict Ching late Monday morning found the remains at his house on the 100 block of Del Monte St., two blocks over from Mission Street.
By Wednesday morning, police had cordoned off the area while a hazmat team went in and out of the house. Several police cars were parked out front as neighbors walked up to the police tape and took pictures of the area.
“I’m very sad for the family, for this poor man,” said Danielle Peronnet Chang, a neighbor who has lived there for more than a decade. “This is awful.”
Sgt. Michael Andraychak, a police spokesperson, said responding officers began a criminal investigation after determining “there were suspicious circumstances” surrounding the missing persons case.
The FBI has since assisted the Police Department with the investigation, according to FBI spokesperson Cameron Rogers Polan.
The Medical Examiner’s Office also responded to the scene, but has not identified the remains or cause of death as of Wednesday.
Authorities have not released further details on the investigation and would not immediately confirm reports that the body was dismembered.
Neighbors in the area Wednesday told the San Francisco Examiner that Ching lived alone until his daughter, her partner and her young children moved into the home in recent months.
Richard Maldonado, a neighbor who greeted Ching in passing over the years, said he seldom saw the family but called the news “upsetting.”
“I wasn’t real social with him,” Maldonado said. “We were just kind of neighbors. He seemed pleasant enough.”
If the death is ruled a homicide, it would mark the 16th of the year in San Francisco.
In the most recent homicide, 58-year-old Thomas Walsh of Daly City was shot and killed in the Western Addition on May 18.
Walsh was fatally shot on Turk Street between Franklin and Gough streets at around 5:30 a.m., police said.
No arrest has been made in his killing.