Torso found in levee could be missing woman whose husband jumped from bridge

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The Alameda County Coroner is working to identify a torso that washed up at the Dumbarton Pier because police said they haven't collected anything else that would help them positively identify the person. (KGO-TV)

Human remains found in Fremont, Calif., could be linked to a missing person's case. That missing woman's home in Brisbane, Calif., became a crime scene on Wednesday because of a bizarre, tragic development involving her husband.

Shelly Titchener disappeared the day before Valentine's Day, and her husband reported her missing two days later. At 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, law enforcement officers from two agencies, Brisbane and Fremont, came to the home and declared it an active crime scene.

The 57-year-old wife and mother has been missing for a week and a half.

"The husband came up to our house and asked us if we've seen her or anything," said neighbor Phil Tandecki.

Brisbane police say Paul Titchener told investigators that Shelly left her cellphone and laptop at home and that she had a history of bipolar disorder and depression.

WATCH VIDEO: Fishermen find woman's torso near Fremont's Dumbarton Pier

"Two days ago him and his son, they were putting up these signs," said Tandecki.

On Wednesday, those missing signs were covered by crime scene tape. After serving a search warrant at the home, investigators spent much of their time in the back yard. They swabbed a white Chevrolet. The vehicle, with Shelly's picture in the windshield, is registered to her husband.

On Sunday night, 30 miles from Brisbane, fishermen found a woman's torso near Dumbarton Pier in Fremont.

Then Tuesday night investigators searched for additional body parts, and the coroner's office picked up what appeared to be more remains around 8 p.m. Sources say it was a woman's extremity.

Also on Tuesday just after 9 p.m., there were reports of a Bay Bridge jumper. The San Francisco Coroner's Office confirms the victim was identified through fingerprints as 62-year-old Paul Titchener Sr. of Brisbane, Shelly's husband.

Neighbors were unaware of these developments as Fremont police continued to investigate.

Tandecki described talking to Paul. He said, "He was kind of broke down about it."

As for the human remains found 30 miles away, Tandecki said, "I don't know what to say about that, I hope it's not her."

Tandecki said he never heard the couple fighting, but other neighbors said there was tension when Paul, who had left the home, then for a time moved back in.

Neighbors say they've heard shouting come from the house over the years. DeeDee Porter lives next door and was one of the last people to see both Titcheners alive.

"None of us can construct that scenario in our heads where that makes sense. I mean they were nice neighbors and he was a nice, respectful, quiet guy," she said.

WATCH VIDEO: Investigators search for clues where woman's body part as found

"I'm devastated, I'm shocked," said Shelly's brother, Scott Carmichael.

Carmichael says he felt suspicious about his brother-in-law and thought Paul was possibly holding back information. Still, Carmichael holds onto some hope Shelly could be out there. DNA evidence will likely be used to make that determination.

In a statement released Wednesday night, Fremont police said that while they cannot confirm the body is that of Shelly, they cannot rule it out. They also confirmed that her husband died after jumping off the Bay Bridge and that he was not named as a suspect, but was a person of interest.

The Titcheners leave behind two sons. On Wednesday evening, one of them wrote on Facebook, "My mother Shelly Titchener and father Paul Titchener have recently passed. I hope that you will all respect the privacy of my family and I. Thank you to everyone who supported us in the search for my mother."

"We have a very strong feeling that it is in fact Shelly, the missing person out of Brisbane, but until coroner says positively identified we can't say 100 percent it is her," Fremont Police Department spokesperson Geneva Bosques said.

The coroner will likely need to do DNA testing on the torso because police said they haven't collected anything else that would help them positively identify the person.

Related Topics:
newsbody foundbody part founddead bodyinvestigationpolicealameda countysan francisco bayhomicidehomicide investigationmurder mysterymissing personmissing womanu.s. & worldCalifornia
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