Thursday, May 10, 2007

Jan Scharf: Husband/suspected killer dead, probable suicide

This will most likely make it harder for Jan to be found, but it is encouraging to know that authorities aren't giving up.

Prison suicide deepens mystery
Wife's body still missing after man kills self in cell.
By Christina Jewett - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PDT Thursday, May 10, 2007Story appeared in METRO section, Page B1
A man convicted of killing his wife but leaving no trace of the crime has committed suicide in prison, officials said, likely taking a secret with him to the grave: where the body of Jan Scharf is buried.
Glyn Wolfgang Scharf, 54, was discovered unresponsive in his cell at Pleasant Valley State Prison at 6:12 a.m. March 21 during a routine security check, Lt. Cheryl Campoy, a Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman, said Wednesday.
He was taken to Coalinga Regional Medical Center, where he died at 4:26 p.m. March 27 from what officials later ruled was an overdose of medicine.
Scharf was a paramedic in Amador County before an El Dorado County jury convicted him in October 2004 of killing his wife, a 45-year-old Cameron Park nurse.
Scharf's disappearance in May 2002 was followed by fervent searches of canyons, riverbeds and fields throughout El Dorado County. Meanwhile, investigators gathered accounts of Glyn Scharf's odd behavior at the time of her disappearance and Jan Scharf's reports of his threatening actions beforehand.
To this day, her body has not been discovered.
"He didn't even have the decency to let us know where he put her," said Marcie Flores, who worked as a nurse alongside Jan Scharf at UC Davis Medical Center. "Now the trail is dry."
El Dorado County Sheriff's Lt. Kevin House, who supervised the murder investigation, said officers at the prison in Fresno County are combing Scharf's magazines and papers for clues about the location of the body.
"We're hoping that somewhere in his belongings we find some kind of document that may assist us in finding the body so we can get closure for Jan's family," House said. "That's the last shred that we have to go on -- for him to finally to tell us where she's at."
House said if prison officers fall short, the detective who worked on the case will sift through the papers.
Doctors initially said the death was a result of natural causes. However, Fresno County Deputy Coroner Joseph Tiger said the death has been ruled a suicide.
He said Scharf overdosed on amitriptyline, which is the generic form of the antidepressant Elavil.
Dr. Peter Yellowlees, a professor of psychiatry at UC Davis Medical Center, said the drug is seldom prescribed because safer drugs like Prozac and Paxil are now available.
"It's well known to be a relatively dangerous drug in overdose because it has cardiac side effects," he said.
Campoy said certain "hot meds" are known to be dangerous, and inmates who take them are monitored by nurses. She did not know if Scharf's pills were on that list.
Campoy said Scharf was not on suicide watch, but he was assigned to a "special-needs" recreational yard for nonviolent inmates who would be targeted for attacks among the general population.
While jailed in El Dorado County, Scharf made two attempts to take his own life after he was convicted and before he was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Both times, he sliced himself with a jail-issued razor, once in the arm and again in the neck. After the second attempt, he remained on suicide watch and lost his shaving privileges.
Scharf's daughter, Tegan Sharpe, said she questions whether the death was indeed a suicide.
"They didn't call it a suicide until we decided to file a wrongful death lawsuit against them," she said.
Sharpe said the family learned of their father's death only when another inmate sent a condolence more than a week later.
Court records indicate that Scharf's legal journey ended in January of this year, when the California Supreme Court denied a bid to review his case.
The trial -- based fully on circumstantial evidence -- was highly publicized.
Jurors who voted for conviction told The Bee at the time that they were convinced of Scharf's guilt when they heard that Jan Scharf's Celtic cross and a ring were found discarded at the house of Glyn's girlfriend, whom Jan Scharf never met.

I didn't know about the jewelry at the girlfriend's house; that is a bit suspicious.
If you know anything about the disappearance of Jan Scharf, please call the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office at (530) 621-5703.
Unfortunately, I have yet to find a "poster" of Jan. There is a short profile of Jan at the Carole Sund Carrington Foundation's website which might work as a flyer if you change your page setup to landscape. If you know a site that has posters of Jan for printing, please let me know.

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