Skip to main content

‘Suspicious Circumstance’: Cadaver Dogs Brought in After Mercedes is Found Buried in Backyard of $15 Million California Home


An image from local media of a car being excavated

A tiny and tony community in the San Francisco Bay area was shocked earlier this week when landscapers discovered an entire car buried underneath the backyard of a massive single-family home.

Authorities in Atherton, California say the car was discovered at around 8:50 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022. The vehicle was found between “approximately” four and five feet of dirt and is believed to have been underground since sometime in the 1990s, police said.

“The motive and circumstances surrounding this incident are under investigation,” the Atherton Police Department said in a press release.

Described as a “suspicious circumstance,” the APD said the car was discovered “during a landscaping project” and that there were several “unused bags of concrete throughout the vehicle.” Law enforcement did not speculate on why the bags of concrete were present in the car.

In comments to CBS News, Atherton Police Commander Daniel Larsen said the bags of concrete were found throughout the vehicle.

“Due to the unknown nature of why the vehicle was buried, cadaver dogs were called to the scene,” the police department’s press release went on to note. “The cadaver dogs made a slight notification of possible human remains. The San Mateo Crime Lab was contacted and sent technicians to assist with excavating the vehicle.”

On Thursday, the APD said an investigation was “ongoing” but clarified that “no human remains” had been located so far.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the property in question is worth upwards of $15 million and sits upon 1.63 acres. Included on the estate is a 12,000 square foot home that was sold in 2020.

The property has been sold multiple times since the palatial home was built, according to San Francisco-based MyNetworkTV affiliate KRON.

“The vehicle was buried before the current homeowner occupied the home,” the APD noted in its initial press release.

According to CNBC, Atherton’s ZIP code, 94027, has been considered the wealthiest one in the country for five years running as of 2021.

On Thursday evening, firefighters from adjacent Menlo Park, Calif. came to help the police sort through the bizarre discovery.

Early Friday, it was reported that the car was a Mercedes:

Residents in the posh town were surveyed about the find by Bay Area NBC affiliate KNTV – and some were kind of excited by it.

“It’s a mystery in my own neighborhood,” Athertonian Athena Ogawa told the TV station. “It’s strange, but it was really fascinating to see this all this happening. I just want to see how this plays out.”

“It’s kind of strange,” resident Peter Sun added. “But usually, it’s pretty safe and it’s like everyone is kind of doing their own thing.”

The excavation was halted at around 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, the APD said in its first update on the buried car case – adding that no human remains were uncovered as of that time and promising an additional update on Friday afternoon. Law&Crime reached out to the APD for additional information and comment on this story but no response was immediately forthcoming as of the time of publication.

[image via screengrab/KNTV]

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime: