Shasta County Sheriff’s Sgt. John Hubbard won’t say what led to a second $100,000 warrant issued today in the case of missing Redding teen Jean Marie Berlinghoff.
“For certain charges … victims have the right to confidentiality, and that’s what we have going on here,” Hubbard said, adding later that although the department’s investigation has clearly led to additional evidence, “nothing striking has come up.”
Charles Berlinghoff, 44, of Los Angeles, is wanted on suspicion of keeping Jean Berlinghoff, his 15-year-old niece, from her parents. The two have been missing since Nov. 10. Jean’s father, Jacob Berlinghoff, has said they disappeared after he confronted his brother with his suspicions that the uncle and niece shared an inappropriate relationship.
The case has not become a murder investigation, Hubbard said today, but he could not comment on whether there is evidence of a sex-related crime prompting the second warrant.
“I cannot answer that,” Hubbard said.
Charles Berlinghoff’s car was found Nov. 26 on a road near Dunsmuir, but further searches of the area have not found more signs of the missing pair, Hubbard said today.
Reached Monday night, Jean’s mother Heather Vega said she and Jean’s father, Jake Berlinghoff, don’t have any additional information about the new warrant.
“What’s out there now is what they showed us,” Vega said. “I know that the Sheriff’s office has worked overtime and they’re a bunch of good men and women trying to help out.”
Vega added that her family and the Berlinghoff family greatly appreciate the efforts of Shasta County law enforcement and the community at large, as the case is nearly a month old.
“It’s been a month and the sheriff’s office is still going full force on this,” Vega said. “They’re all working tirelessly. I believe they’re going to bring her home safe. It’s become personal for them. I have no doubt they’ll find our daughter.
“I just want the community and law enforcement to know how much we appreciate what they’re doing. We feel all the people in this community have become our family. We’re so pleased at how people have responded. I think if it were anyone’s daughter, they would have responded this way,” Vega said.
Jean’s disappearance has received national attention on the “America’s Most Wanted” and “Nancy Grace” TV shows, yielding “loads and loads” of tips and reported sightings as far away as Kentucky, Tennessee, Washington, Oregon and Colorado, but none have proved fruitful, Hubbard said.
That is frustrating for detectives, but the abundance of potential leads and added workload is not an issue, he said.
“I would rather have those come in,” said Hubbard of the tips. He remains hopeful that the right one will bring Jean Berlinghoff home safely. “It only takes one.”
Kimberly Ross is managing editor of A News Cafe. She lives in Redding and has served as a journalist in the north state for 11 years.
Reporter Jim Dyar contributed to this report.