Police search for missing man, investigate homicide

There is a massive search for a Palm Desert man and a homicide investigation is underway on Hwy 1.

February 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
On Thursday evening, a San Francisco homicide investigation led to an after-dark search of the cliff and water at Devil's Slide. By 11 p.m. the search had been called off for the night and Highway 1 finally reopened in both directions after being closed for hours.

Drivers had to be re-routed along Highway 1 in both directions until 9:30 p.m. due to the massive search, which began at around 6 p.m. Search and rescue crews were combing Devil's Slide looking for any sign of a missing couple whose car was found off Highway 1 illegally parked near there.

San Mateo County Sheriff's deputies, San Francisco police, and dive teams assembled to look for Billy and Colleen Waterman of Palm Desert. The couple was reported missing three days ago in Riverside County.

Thursday night, Colleen's daughter told ABC7 that San Francisco police told her that they are investigating a homicide and that they believe the victim might be her mother.

A sheriff's spokesperson said their main focus was on finding Bill, but so far they have found no sign of him. Sheriff's deputies and the San Mateo County Harbor Patrol searched the water and rocks below Devil's Slide for any evidence. Deputies say they found the couple's car empty and illegally parked on Highway 1 earlier on Thursday.

The reason why the highway had to be shut down for so long was because officers were repelling down the cliffs and their ropes were in the road ways. So for officer safety, the road had to be closed.

The search will resume on Friday morning. It is not clear if that will mean Highway 1 will have to be shut down again.