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Friedli murder case turned over to D.A.

By Scott Hennessee, CBS Local 2 Anchor & Reporter, scott.hennessee@cbslocal2.com
Published On: Feb 04 2014 07:45:06 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 05 2014 01:04:20 AM CST
Riverside, Calif. -

A triple murder that happened in the mountain community of Pinyon Pines in 2006 remains unsolved.

Private investigators looking into the murders of 18-year old Becky Friedli, her mother Vickie Friedli, and Vickie's boyfriend Jon Hayward, believe there is enough evidence to make arrests and prosecute a case. They held a press conference from the court house steps in Riverside Tuesday to put pressure on the Riverside County District Attorney to prosecute the case, or pass it on to another agency that will.

In a statement released late Tuesday afternoon, the D.A's office confirms the case has been handed over to them following an investigation by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

John Hall, spokesman for District Attorney Paul Zellerbach, writes, "After the case was submitted to this office for review, there was additional investigation we believed needed to be done and we are actively doing that follow-up."     

For the last year and a half, a group of retired law enforcement officers have worked pro bono to try to figure out who intentionally set fire to a home and killed three people. They say Becky Friedli, whose burned body was found posed inside a wheel barrow, was the target.

"One of the top motives," Private Investigator, Luis Bolanos said,  "We think it may be a jealousy issue."

The private investigators think they know who was responsible.

"Our investigation continues to point to a very specific group of individuals," Bolanos said.

Yet no arrests have been made.

"This has been one of the worst, laziest, sloppiest, unprofessional, biased investigations I have ever seen in my entire 30 year career," Bolanos said.

Ron Friedli spent 26 years with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, conducting countless investigations.

One year after he retired, his daughter, his ex-wife and her boyfriend were killed, and Friedli can't understand why nothing has been done about it.

While he says he respects the work of the Sheriff's department, Friedli thinks mistakes have been made in this investigation from the beginning.

Friedli points to how he was excluded as a suspect as an example. 

Ron Friedli was living in Northern California when the murders took place on September 17, 2006. He told investigators he was building his home there the day the murders happened. Friedli says two people can confirm he was 12 hours from the crime scene, but investigators never bothered to verify his account with them.

Some of the people investigating the case for the Riverside County Sheriff's Department were once co-workers and friends of Ron Friedli. He says the investigation has not been done correctly, and people with potentially vital information to the case have not been interviewed by authorities.

"Folks that you would think would have been notified. Like next door neighbors," Private Investigator Bolanos said. "Friends of Becky, close friends that had incredible information that was never given to law enforcement."

Bolanos says someone with information on the case recently called the private investigators tip line. That person then called the lead investigator with the sheriff's department who, Bolanos says, told the witness the district attorney's office is holding up a potential arrest.

"Investigator Vargas said that as far as he is concerned, they have had more than enough information to make arrests of the individuals," Bolanos said. "The group of individuals. The major persons of interest that we identified a year and a half ago, except the problem is with the D.A.'s office."

Bolanos says the investigator told the witness that the D.A. does not want to make a case for political reasons.

Friedli says conflict of interest issues clutter the investigation, and the potential prosecution with the Riverside County D.A. If they won't prosecute, he hopes the federal government or someone else will get involved.

"For someone to have the information, enough information to make an arrest and not make an arrest," Friedli said. "Somebody's got to answer for that."

Addressing the belief of a potential conflict of interest, Hall, the spokesman for the District Attorney's office writes: "We are sensitive and cognizant to that and are in the process of speaking with the state Attorney General's Office for their advice and opinion in that regard."

"The investigation in this case is ongoing and currently no charges have been filed. Therefore there will be no further comment on this matter at this time."