Who Killed Hugues de la Plaza?

His parents are so frustrated with seeking the answer that they want to bring investigators from France into the case

François de la Plaza held a photograph of his son, Hugues, and smiled sadly as he described the kind of man he was. "Very open-minded, very tolerant," he said, tracing his finger around Hugues' face, which was beaming as he sat with friends. "This is the perfect picture of who he is. Listening and smiling."

Hugues' mother, Mireille, sat next to her husband and cried, covering her eyes with closed fists. Frustrated with getting few answers about the death of her only child, and seeing little action on the investigation, the parents hired a private investigator and had gathered in his Mission District office, trying to piece together how and why their son died.

Hugues, 36, was found dead with multiple stab wounds inside his bloodied Hayes Valley apartment on June 2.

His French parents traveled to San Francisco and were here for five weeks searching for information. But, week after week, answers have been elusive.

Now the couple is so frustrated with the investigation into the death of their son, who had dual citizenship, that they headed back home to France this week to file a complaint with French authorities. They want French police officers to be sent to California to help with the case.

They argue that this extraordinary request is necessary because the San Francisco Police Department doesn't have enough resources to solve the case, and needs assistance from French investigators.

In addition to hiring a private investigator, the de la Plazas have also contacted the Consulate General of France in S.F., which assigned a French police officer based in Los Angeles to assist SFPD with the investigation. "We have nothing else in life except to find out who and how and why," François said. "That's the only thing that carries us forward."

But is this what it takes — hiring a private investigator and bringing in an international police force — to solve a mysterious death in San Francisco?


To be fair, the city's homicide detail has been especially busy these days. There's a 20 percent increase in homicides so far this year, and a surge in fatal stabbings.

For example, a 19-year-old named Jose Santillan died after somebody stabbed him near his home in North Beach at the end of last month. Earlier that same day the bodies of two teenage friends, Gregory Jones and Chris Garcia, were found with multiple stab wounds in Hunters Point.

Only, Hugues de la Plaza's death has not yet been ruled a homicide. It's being investigated as a "suspicious death," according to police Sgt. Steve Mannina, and on Monday the medical examiner's results were still pending.

It's not just terminology that has Hugues' friends and family concerned. His friends and Linden Street neighbors said that when they spoke with police, many of the questions seemed to be focused on Hugues' state of mind: whether he'd been depressed, had a recent breakup with a girlfriend, or did drugs. One neighbor said he was asked if Hugues, a French sound engineer who moved to San Francisco four years ago, wrote poetry.

His friend Neil Zarama, one of the last people who saw him alive, said he went to the police station two days after the body was found, then followed up with about a dozen telephone calls to police. "No one ever called me back," he said. When Zarama, who worked with Hugues at LeapFrog, a high-tech educational products and videogame company in Emeryville, eventually spoke with Inspector Antonio Casillas, he grew concerned when he was asked whether Hugues was right- or left-handed, and about his reported obsession with Japan. "I said, "I hope you're not insinuating it was hara-kiri,'" Zarama remembers telling Casillas.

Zarama had just been out dancing and drinking with Hugues at Underground SF, a Haight Street club, until about 2 a.m. on Saturday morning — just hours before the body was found — and said they had plans to go on a motorcycle ride that same afternoon. Hugues, who had been out celebrating a promotion at work, didn't seem depressed at all.

It's common for friends and family to insist their loved ones would never kill themselves. But evidence that's emerged in the case supports their theory that it was homicide. No knife was found in or near the body, and there wasn't a single bloody knife inside the apartment, according to François, who added that there was a washed steak knife found in the kitchen sink.

The cleanliness of the knife found is in stark contrast to the state of Hugues' apartment. Crime scene photographs recently obtained by the family look like scenes from a horror movie. Drops of blood trail along the floor and blood drips down a section of the wall in some photographs. In others, huge smears of blood cover the floor and a wall.

That's just inside the apartment. Neighbors — who said they heard loud footsteps and the door to Hugues' apartment slamming as many as three times just after 2:30 that morning — awoke hours later to what they said was a pool of blood about a foot in diameter on the front porch. More blood was reportedly smeared on the hand railing outside.

1
 
2
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
27 comments
brewkenny
brewkenny

i believe his girlfriend did it...he broke up with her or she was pissed that he was hitting on some girls at the club..so he went home made him something to eat the girlfriend wen t over there to talk he answered the door she wants to know why he did this to her he tells her to get lost she's pissed stabs him three times he retreats into the apartment drunk and in shocked staggering throughout the house and bleeds to death. while she goes home waiting for the news from friends that live near him. shitty police work equals got away with murder.

Confused
Confused

i could be stupid asking this but....was the DNA found on the watch tested?

Lkreft
Lkreft

He was interrupted while eating his rice and Peas-Why would he make a plate of food and hardly touch it... I think someone knocked on his door- the perp does not show up on The security camera footage be cause of theAngle of the camera. It only caught Hughes' shadow as he walked down the sidewalk. Anyone closer to the building or on the steps would not get recorded. It very well could be Someone he knew... He got stabbed out side and went back in his house and dead bolted his door. Unless he went out to smoke on his Steps and got Jumped by some bad guy(s)

Navaura
Navaura

That was my theory too. He did go outside for what ever reason. i think he was interrupted. Why not just wait to have a cig? He stepped out. How ever I think there may have been a struggle because of the fact that he was stabbed in the chest and the weapon of choice missed his heart. He probably stepped out on the porch, immediately was stabbed in the stomach, then I would imagine he'd be in shock and probably see the person, and then he got stabbed a second time in the chest and then a final time in the throat just before entering into the house. Once he did, he thought to separate himself from the killer to stop anymore damage. This man obviously didn't want to die. Why else would there be bloody foot prints all over the living room area and the kitchen. I think that who ever did this was so angry they wanted him dead. It was definately a crime of passion though.The type of passion is what remains a mystery.

Lkreft
Lkreft

Hughes probably couldn't remember where he put his phone down so he was walking around looking for it...I do this daily! Unfortunately, he expired before he had the chance to dial 911. Can't figure out how the perp avoided the security camera? Also, I feel A vagrant could have done this or a crime of passion. So sad the family and friends have not had closure yet...

Lkreft
Lkreft

It was either a mugger looking to rob Jim or the jealous husband or boyfriend of one of his Various girlfriends or Perhaps a jilted lover...He would have opened the door for a woman!Wonder when he moved to SF? I believe I spoke to him regarding an apt for rent in Russian Hill-

Brittanyball2011
Brittanyball2011

The man that committed this crime name is steven l. Wright white male about 33 years of age. He has a clown tattoo on his right fore arm. He took the knife used to kill hugues de la plaza. Steven l. Wright address is 1208 turner 

Brittanyball2011
Brittanyball2011

The man that committed this crime name is steven l. Wright white male about 33 years of age. He has a clown tattoo on his right fore arm. He took the knife used to kill hugues de la plaza. Steven l. Wright address is 1208 turner

Sutraquio
Sutraquio

I think that this unfortunate,handsome young man,due to his practice of dating many women,angered some jealous boyfriend or husband of some woman,was attacked and murdered.This is most likely the motive behind this homicide,definitely not a suicide! I am sorry that it happened and that his parents are hurting so.They need to STAY on the investigators and force them not just let this case be forgotten.I would NEVER let them just forget it,Thank you.

Sutraquio
Sutraquio

I think,with the facts that have been presented,there no way that this victim committed suicide.Someone is trying to cover up something or authorities are too lazy to properly investigate this case.

erika rodrigues
erika rodrigues

This case leaves me so interested, it was obviously a homicide i thinnk his parent's theory is right saying that he went outside and got stabbed then when back in and died because no weapon was found and he coudlnt of done those wounds to himself because if he would of stabbed himself he wouldn't have had time to walk outside to leave the blood marks then go wash the knife and then go and die because the wounds that he had would have made him die within 2-3 minutes but i just am left wondering who did it? why? and if police will ever find out who it was? maybe it was someone who hated him or someone he knew, but i am just hoping they find out who it was because he was so handsome and young for his death to just be left unpunished

Anna Brantham
Anna Brantham

With regard to the Hugues case, I am APPALLED! Really??? That stupid woman med exam thinks it was a suicide (or now undetermined??) How is it possible to stab yourself 41 times to die??? REALLY??? That woman needs to have her license revoked! What an IDIOT!!! It's obvious someone attacked Mr. De La Plaza (sorry If I have his name wrong). I am sooo scared for San Francisco if that is what that Med Exam decided. She is on DRUGS or is simply STUPID!!!! DUH!!!!

Debra Puanoni
Debra Puanoni

I can't imagine you haven't but I have heard no word of it so I will put it out to you. Has anyone considered a psychic? There have been many murder cases and missing people cases solved by psychics. Every once in a while a story will touch the depths of my heart and this one did for unknown reasons. Well, I've given all that I have. One day I hope to hear a positive update on this so sad story.

Joe Fitzpatrick
Joe Fitzpatrick

my use of common sense indicates a female (a jealous one at that) arrived at de la Plaza's residence (never entering the residence) intoxicated, acting on impulse stabbed de la Plaza and departed with the deadly weapon. My guess is the female was at the establishment that de la plaza visited that evening/early morning. Case Closed.

Karen
Karen

My father was blugeoned on a San Francisco street and died three days later. The only investigation that was done was some brief discussions with people in the area. I know it is a fact that many of the neighbors told the police that they new a couple (man and woman) had most likely killed him because he would not agree to sign over the title to a home he owned. There was no investigation done and the case was closed. The murderers had the nerve to attend my fathers funeral at the Golden Gate National Cemetary where he is buried. He was in the U.S. Army and served during WWII. I realize there was nothing done to investigate his death because he had a drinking problem. His death was completely written off because he was an alcoholic. Who cares right?

Greg Newman
Greg Newman

And the psychopath who savagely murdered Hugues is still out there. . .

From Wikipedia
From Wikipedia

User:GriotFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia� Learn more about citing Wikipedia �This user has been blocked indefinitely because CheckUser confirms that this user has used one or more accounts abusively.The abuse of multiple accounts is prohibited; using new accounts to evade blocks or bans results in the block or ban being extended.See block log � confirmed accounts � suspected socks � Checkuser requestCategories: Wikipedia sockpuppeteers

Folderoy
Folderoy

Sex and murder! Murder and sex! The tawdry tabloid journalist strikes again!

Matt
Matt

Just came back from a road-trip in California.

Did we get more info with the gmail and yahoo account access ?I with the police will do their job and find and put these damn killers to jail

Pope
Pope

Who killed Hughes? I trust the tawdry tabloid journalist will get to the bottom of it, come what may!

cesk
cesk

WTH is wrong with SF police???? SUICIDE? Any idiot can tell this is not a suicide. People don't make plans to go to movies, stab themselves, stagger around their home, manage to wash clean a knife, and leave it in the sink. Seriously. SF needs to have their detectives back to school, get some new detectives, or at the very least make them watch CSI.

Too bad idiocy isn't a crime. The detectives could arrest themselves.

Newfiewithaboat
Newfiewithaboat

You got that right cesk! If that was the case then there would be lots of blood near the sink and there would be blood in the drain of the sink.

Patrice
Patrice

As a French living in the US, I can't help but feeling concerned. All my sympathy goes to the family. I hope the parents will find out what happen to him. I wish them the best.

Laura Nix
Laura Nix

Thank you for writing this article. Hugues was very special to many, many people, and his parents deserve to know what happened to their son.

Cristina Gutierrez
Cristina Gutierrez

I cannot digest the fact that there has been so little progress in this case. Why do we not have the police man power? We boast and brag about living in such a beautiful and safe city, I thought it was a good thing that you rarely see police on the streets. This is very disheartening.

Cristasphoto
Cristasphoto

I hate to make this Political cause this is a very depressing case,But the facts areAs long as we see our money go overseas,Crime and Social ills of all, and new sorts will only increase.Ive said it and I will continue to say this:We have PLENTY of wars here domestically to worry about.My heart goes out to the Family and Friends of this young man.

Mary Spicuzza
Mary Spicuzza

Those with information about the case are asked to call the San Francisco Police Department's confidential tip line at (415)575-4444.

 

Around The Web

©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.
Loading...