Homicide detectives search home of missing Saugus man

A member of the LASD Crime Lab enters the home of missing man Will Cierzan on Feb. 13, 2020. Signal photo, Bobby Block.
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Three years after the disappearance of Will Cierzan, homicide detectives returned Thursday morning to the man’s Saugus home where they began searching and conducting fresh tests.

“Investigators from the (Los Angeles County) sheriff’s crime lab are back inside the Cierzan residence conducting an exam in search for additional evidence,” Detective Ralph Hernandez said Thursday on the sidewalk in front of the home on Cuatro Milpas Street.

Detectives Ralph Hernandez (left) and John Carlin of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau search the home of missing Saugus man Will Cierzan in February. Signal photo, Bobby Block

A half-dozen detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Homicide Bureau descended on the one-story house about 10 a.m. and spent more than two hours there.

Some of the detectives were part of a specialty unit of the LASD, but Hernandez would not elaborate, nor would he say what evidence, specifically, they were looking for.


William John Cierzan, 58, was watching golf on TV with his nephew, Dan, on Jan. 26, 2017,  inside his home near the intersection of Seco Canyon Road and Bouquet Canyon Road, according to detectives.

He phoned his wife, Linda, between 3:30 and 4 p.m. about plans for that evening and, after his nephew left, began cooking a chicken dinner for him and his wife.

Linda Cierzan arrived home at 7 p.m. and found no sign of her husband. She found the prepared dinner, her husband’s jacket, his credit cards and money in his wallet. The family dog was in the house.

In the week that followed the disappearance, Hernandez and his partner Detective John Carlin searched the Cierzan home and then held a news conference in Monterey Park to announce they found blood stains inside the home.

Tests revealed later that the blood belonged to Will Cierzan.

“The blood stains found in the home came back to Will,” Hernandez said in the spring of 2017. “And, we also found his blood at a location outside of his home.”

Blood evidence

Hernandez did not disclose where the blood found “outside of his home” had been found, leading him to add: “The evidence indicates that an assault did occur.”

On Thursday, Hernandez reflected on what’s become a long and arduous probe to figure out what happened.

“The investigation has been ongoing since his disappearance in January 2017,” he said, as detectives continued to come and go from the house.

“We are still hopeful that there is somebody with knowledge that will help us find out what happened to Will, and is out there and willing to come forward,” he said.

“To these people, we urge them to call the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500,” he said.

Investigators outside the home of missing Saugus man Will Cierzan. Signal photo, Bobby Block.

Relatives of the missing man speculated recently that human remains found after the Tick Fire might be those of Cierzan, promising closure and an end to suffering.

Human remains

On Oct. 28, a Public Works staffer found a human skeleton among the charred terrain left by the Tick Fire, which began on Oct. 24, burning more than 4,600 acres along the northern edge of the Santa Clarita Valley.

After the fire was extinguished, a skeleton, believed to have been there for more than a year, was found near the intersection of Sand Canyon Road and Thompson Ranch Drive, per officials.

Asked two weeks ago about the identity of those remains, Hernandez said: “We are confident it is not Will Cierzan.”

A recent check with officials at the city of Santa Clarita about the status of a reward set up three years ago revealed that the money is still in place.

Two months after Will vanished, the city put up a $10,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person, or persons, responsible for Cierzan’s disappearance.

Reward offered

By the end of the first year, the reward — thanks to an undisclosed private donor — was doubled to $20,000. 

Last month, Carrie Lujan, spokeswoman for the city, confirmed the $10,000 reward posted by the city remains in place, she said, for “the apprehension and/or conviction of the person, or persons involved.”

For Will Cierzan’s sister Andrea Peck, “The reward is what keeps it alive.”

“Somebody out there may have seen something and thinks, ‘Maybe this is important,’ and that tip is what turned the case around,” she said two weeks ago.

Detectives left the Cierzan house shortly before 1 p.m. Thursday, Hernandez said.

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On Twitter: @jamesarthurholt

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