In September, 2015, the mother of a dead surfer whose headless, skinless body washed ashore May 26, 1995 at Asilomar filed suit against the Monterey County Coroner’s Office, the City of Pacific Grove and others claiming mishandling of forensic evidence in the case. Fatima Nuray, mother of the missing surfer, had waited 20 years to learn of her son’s fate.
It seems that remnants of a skinless thumb and two fingers were removed during the autopsy for possible fingerprinting, but the efforts were unsuccessful. Dental records could not be obtained due to the missing head. While tissue samples were taken for DNA testing, the samples were never submitted to the state’s Department of Justice labs for testing.
The tissue samples remained untested in the custody of the Monterey County Coroner’s Office until 2014, when a Pacific Grove Police Department officer, in an attempt to rectify cold cases, discovered that not only were there no results from the tests, but it was likely the Coroner’s Office had not submitted them for testing.
The samples were finally submitted to the state. They were matched with DNA submitted by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department when Nuray filed a missing person report on her son. On Dec. 30, 2014, the Monterey County Coroner’s Office advised Fatima Nuray that the body found in 1995 was, in fact, her son. The identity of the remains would not likely have been released to the public as the deceased, Cengiz Nuray, was a minor at the time.
By order of the court, Pacific Grove and all named parties for Pacific Grove — Pacific Grove Police Department, former Chief Vickie Myers and Commander Rory Lakind — have been completely dismissed from the case. Said City Attorney David Laredo, “This woman has closure [in that she now knows the identity of the remains]. No one should have to go through that. And we are pleased that working together with special trial counsel we were able to get this matter resolved in favor of the City as this early stage of the case as it will save significant time and resources.”
Neither Myers nor Lakind was employed by the city at the time the body was found.
Monterey County is still in the case.