A once rent-controlled apartment selling for more than a million dollars isn’t too notable in San Francisco these days. But could it push through the noise if a gruesome murder took place there?
Such are the circumstances for not one but two houses where shocking dismemberment cases took place last summer. The SoMa home of 65-year-old Brian Egg, whose torso was found in a fish tank in September 2018, sold in recent weeks. It’s unknown what the ultimate selling price is, but the realtor told KPIX the $1.5 million asking price “seems like a bargain.”
Egg was a longtime resident and owner of 228 Clara St. before the gruesome discovery was made. Family members and concerned neighbors last saw him in May or early June, before reporting him as missing. They repeatedly contacted the police, who made two welfare checks at the house, but declined to enter.
But after a neighbor called 911 to report a suspicious person outside with a hazardous-materials cleaning truck — paid for with Egg’s debit card — police found a torso in a large fish tank in a concealed part of the residence. It was later determined to be Egg.
Lance Silva was frequently seen at Egg’s house and was considered a person of interest in the case, but in an odd twist, he was released last week. Police also arrested and later released Robert McCaffrey, charging them both with theft of an elder, fraud, grand theft, and motor-vehicle theft.
The case is still under investigation, leaving new owners or tenants in the dark about what may have happened in their new home. Additionally, Egg’s family, friends, and neighbors remain angry and in mourning over Silva’s release from custody.
This wasn’t the only home that went up for sale after a particularly brutal killing. In a case that touched a nerve for any San Franciscan who’s ever had a bad roommate situation, one such altercation led to another grisly death last summer. In June 2018, the body of 61-year-old Margaret Mamer was found dismembered and stuffed in a plastic container.
Her roommate, Lisa Gonzales, was reportedly frustrated by items that had been misplaced since Mamer moved in, and gave her a 30-day notice in April 2018. Two weeks after Mamer was supposed to leave, she went missing.
A third roommate told police of a strange metallic smell when returning home from work on May 15 and a vinegar scent the next day. She was told by Gonzales that Mamer left “but not the way she should have” and noted a hacksaw under the sink, plus a large plastic storage container. Police conducted a welfare check on June 2, finding Mamer’s torso and sawed-off limbs in a container covered in maggots and with liquid spilling out.
Now Gonzales is in custody. Her former landlord later put the place up for sale. Listed at $985,000, realtors simply cited “death on property in 2018,” with a link to the Examiner article about the dismemberment (or otherwise said to Google the address if they wish to know more).
Still, prospective buyers at a showing in January were quite enthused by the price of the since-renovated place. Mission Local reported that one intended to look up the address to find out more.
The house sold for $1.05 million, after being promoted with this description: “Classic design is elevated for modern living in this full-floor condo on one of the best Inner Mission blocks.”
But that means that whoever moves in will have to overlook some shocking details in a case that’s still unresolved. Gonzales pleaded not guilty in June 2018, but the trial was put on hold until an autopsy report could determine Mamer’s cause of death.
Gonzales is scheduled to appear in court for a pretrial on Wednesday.