Wife of man found dead in backyard to remain silent

NOVATO, Calif.

Novato police identified the body, found beneath a brick patio, as 74-year-old Dale Aaron Smith, who had not been seen for several months.

The cause of death has not been determined because toxicology tests haven't yet been completed, Novato police Lt. John McCarthy said.

"The investigation is continuing, and we hope to have a clear cause of death by next week," McCarthy said.

Police consider Smith's 55-year-old wife, Evelyn Smith, to be a person of interest. McCarthy said police will have to contact her attorney if they want to question Smith further.

Smith gave police and the FBI permission to search her home and dig beneath the brick patio last week.

Her attorney, Hugh Levine, said this morning he was informed Wednesday afternoon that the body found was that of Dale Smith.

"The identity of the remains doesn't come as a surprise. I wasn't expecting the remains to be identified as Jimmy Hoffa, Amelia Earhart or any other notorious missing person," Levine said this morning.

Levine has maintained that the only crime that has been committed is a misdemeanor offense of improper disposal of remains.

Levine also said he does not know the cause of Dale Smith's death.

"I suspect if there was, say, a bullet hole in the cranium, they would have given us an indication," Levine said.

He said police haven't yet asked to speak with his client again.

"They know she is represented by counsel and she is asserting her right to silence," Levine said.

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