Murder-suicide linked to missing person's case

January 16, 2011 5:38:36 PM PST
Police have tied a murder-suicide at a Peet's Coffee shop to one of the Bay Area's most well-known missing person's cases.

Police say the prime suspect in the Jeanine Harms missing person case was shot and killed by Harms' brother. The brother then shot and killed himself.

It happened Saturday night at the El Paseo De Saratoga Shopping Center in San Jose. Police say 46-year-old Maurice Nasmeh was inside Peet's Coffee when Jeanine Harms' brother, 52-year-old Wayne Sanchez, confronted him and opened fire. Police say the two initially ran into each other a short time earlier at a Red Robin restaurant where Sanchez accused Nasmeh of his sister's murder.

42-year-old Jeanine Harms of Los Gatos has been missing since 2001. Nasmeh was with Harms the night before she disappeared and was in custody for more than two years in connection with her disappearance, until charges were dismissed when questions surfaced about the evidence in the case.

"The suspect retrieved a handgun and fatally shot the victim. The suspect then exited Peet's Coffee, went out into the parking lot, and as the officers arrived to the scene, they heard what they believe was a single gunshot," said San Jose Police Officer Jose Garcia. "So, they went over to investigate that gunshot and they found the suspect deceased in the parking lot with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound."

Nasmeh had long insisted his innocence in Harms' disappearance. He was one of two men who were out drinking with her the night before she disappeared.

As for Saturday night's shooting, police are trying to determine if Harms' brother was stalking Nasmeh or if the two met by coincidence.