“The morning after Karen’s disappearance her husband called the dispatcher at Auburn P.D., leaving a message for one of the policemen to call him. Sergeant Sam Russell, the son of a Placerville logger, returned the call, reaching Les at his office in the jail.
Reflecting on that conversation, Russell later remarked to the captain in charge of the investigation that Dellasandro’s voice seemed strangely calm and emotionless as he reported his wife’s unexplained absence. During the call Russell collected a few basic facts for a missing persons report, but toward the end of their conversation Dellasandro asked him not to file the report yet, saying he wanted to look for his wife himself for a couple of days first. In a gesture of professional courtesy, Russell agreed. So it would be another two days‚three since Karen’s failure to show up at Forest Lake Christian‚before an investigation began. When it did, it initially focused on the possibility that Karen had deserted her husband and children and didn’t want to be found. Police checked local motels, women’s shelters, buses, taxis, and the Sacramento airport. But as Karen’s friends, neighbors, and parents were interviewed the police gradually changed their opinion of what kind of case they were on.
Perhaps at that point the circumstantial evidence was too weak to get a search warrant, and maybe the collegial relationship between the Auburn Police and the Sheriff’s office resulted in a retraction of the usual vigor with which potential crimes are investigated when the suspects are dressed like bad guys instead of police sergeants. Whatever the case, it took several days for the police to get to the Dellasandro residence. When they did, Les agreed to let them in. They found the house spotless and Karen’s jewelry, including her wedding and engagement rings, arranged neatly next to the bathroom sink. Her wallet, cash, and credit cards were all at the house. The credit card companies were contacted for recent activity. None of Karen’s cards had been used.”