A retired detective Monday detailed a desert scene of scattered skeletal remains in a 1990 homicide in the preliminary hearing for a man accused of killing the victim, then transferring large sums of her money into his bank accounts.
The preliminary hearing reviewed the case filed against Anton Kubica, 62, of Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia, who is accused of killing Marie Darling, a 78-year-old Palm Springs woman. Riverside County prosecutors filed murder charges against Kubica in 2014. He was extradited from Canada in October to face charges.
District Attorney Michael Hestrin questioned the now-retired Carl Carter, who was the lead detective on the case.
Carter said he began the investigation after Darling’s body was found by hikers on June 20, 1990 in the desert east of the Cactus City rest stop.
“I saw skeletal remains, which included skeletal lower extremities,” Carter said. “There was also a skull and various other remains scattered around the area.”
The remains were spread around an area of 200 yards, which surrounded a shallow grave that was “intertwined” with a sleeping bag, Carter said.
Dentures that were positively identified as Darling’s and loops of duct tape, one of which had hair attached, were also found at the scene. Carter said he believes the duct tape was used to bind Darling.
More than a year after her death, Darling’s family attorney found that in June 1990, nearly $185,000 was transferred from her Swiss bank accounts to a bank on the Caribbean island of Anguilla, with the transfers accompanied by a letter signed “Marie.”
In 1993, Carter investigated Kubica’s home in Scottsdale, Arizona with the help of the Scottsdale Police Department and Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
“There was a plethora of evidence at his home,” Carter said. “It included a receipt for duct tape, travel to St. Maarten’s, manifests from St. Maarten to Anguilla in the Caribbean. There was a passport we located. We located banking information from the bank in Anguilla. We located banking information from the Royal Bank of Canada.”
Bank records from Anguilla showed Kubica allegedly withdrew $170,000 from the account, with some of the money transferred to the Royal Bank of Canada, according to Darling’s family attorney.The declaration alleges that Kubica established the Bank of Anguilla account on May 24, 1990.
Investigators say Kubica killed Darling, then began transferring her money into his bank accounts, primarily to cover outstanding mortgage payments on his Palm Springs home that was set for foreclosure.
A Wells Fargo deposit slip dated June 5, 1990 for $2,000 was also found at Kubica’s residence, Carter said.
During the initial investigation of Darling’s condominium, investigators found two safes, one of which was open. An empty currency wrapper for $2,000 was found in a trash can near the open safe, Carter testified.
An autopsy showed the cause of Darling’s death was “blunt force trauma causing multiple skull fractures,” according to an arrest warrant declaration written by Riverside County Sheriff’s Investigator Ryan Bodmer.
In October, Kubica was extradited to Riverside County from Canada and was being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
A motion for a noncontinuous preliminary hearing was granted by Judge Edward Forstenzer Monday, so proceedings will continue on Feb. 25.
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