Onetime suspect Lance Silva is still considered a “person of interest” in the 2018 death of Brian Egg, but he’s been released from a Santa Rita jail because the SFPD apparently can't bring any charges yet.
South of Market residents were already very uncomfortable with the SFPD’s handling of last summer’s murder of Egg, a 65-year-old Clara Street homeowner who had been reported missing for months before police found his body in August chopped up, headless and with his hands missing, and left in a fish tank. The grieving process is not getting easier for Egg’s friends and family with Thursday’s news that a former suspect in the case has been released from jail, according to ABC 7, though this individual is still classified as a person of interest.
“This is a travesty. What a shocking development," neighbor Scot Free told the Bay Area Reporter upon learning the news. "The one-year anniversary is looming but still no real developments. Looks like justice won't be served in this case. Disgusting."
Egg’s disappearance last summer had neighbors on edge, and they suspected foul play. The former Stud bartender was last seen in June, according to the Examiner, and neighbors repeatedly expressed concern to the police. The SFPD did two “wellness checks” by knocking on his door, but received no answer. Even when Egg’s family filed a missing persons report on August 7, officers knocked but did not enter the home. "We don't just go breaking down doors because someone reports someone missing," police commander Greg McEachern said in a late August press conference.
But when neighbors saw a privately hired cleaning crew poking about the place on August 14, they felt their worst fears might be confirmed, as a man named Lance Silva had been coming and going from the house and behaving suspiciously. "He was frantically cleaning up the place," Free told ABC 7. "I just saw a river of sudsy water pouring out the front door of Brian's house, and that was very bizarre. And I saw Lance come out and sweep that water down into the storm drain."
Police say that Silva used Egg’s debit card to pay those hazmat cleaners, and KPIX/CBS SF reported in August that Silva was suspected using Egg’s stolen credit card to buy a BMW. The SFPD arrested Silva and 52-year-old Robert McCaffrey on August 28, but the district attorney later dropped the charges. McCaffrey was released, but Silva was placed in Santa Rita jail over an unrelated parole violation.
Now he’s out too, but for their part, the SFPD says it’s “still an ongoing and active investigation and that Mr. Silva remains a person of interest."
Clearly many of Brian Egg’s family and friends think this means one if not two brutal murderers are now walking the streets free. But neither is currently labeled a suspect, and police detectives probably know a few things we don’t. Recall the framing of Jamal Trulove, who spent six years behind bars for a murder he didn’t commit.
But when a murder as awful as this one has no suspects nearly a year after the killing, it's not out of line for people close the victim to accuse police of dragging their feet.
Related: Arrest Made in Bizarre Torture, Hanging, and Dismemberment Case [SFist]