EXCLUSIVE: A Cowichan Valley man is facing extradition to the U.S. on murder charges for a cold case dating back to 1990. As Tess van Straaten tells us, a wealthy, 78-year-old widow was brutally murdered.
It's an idyllic community in the desert but the Palm Springs area is also home to many secrets and 27-years-ago, a wealthy 78-year-old widow was brutally murdered there.
The cold case dates back to June of 1990 when Marie Darling vanished without a trace. A few weeks later, hikers found her remains north of the freeway in the nearby town of Indio, Calif.
Police say the body was in a sleeping bag, her feet were bound with duct tape and a material similar to cat litter was poured on top.
An autopsy found the cause of death to be blunt force trauma, which resulted in multiple skull fractures.
A Cowichan Valley man, 61-year-old Anthony Michael Kubica — who also goes by Tony or Anton Kubica — is now facing extradition to California to face charges for Darling's murder and kidnapping.
Kubica recently made headlines over a controversial Lake Cowichan land development.
Due to a publication ban, we can't report on what happened at Kubica's first court appearance in Victoria on Monday but the Riverside County District Attorney's office says an "overwhelming amount of circumstantial evidence" ties Kubica, who lived in Palm Springs at the time, and his late wife to the murder.
Investigators say the motive appears to be financial. California Superior court documents say more than $184,000 USD was transferred out of Darling's Swiss bank account to an account in Anguilla that Kubica had allegedly opened and then almost completely emptied, just days before the body was found.
Police say the remaining $13,000 USD was wired to an account Kubica had at the Royal Bank in Canada.
Kubica and his wife, Connie Jo, were suspects early on in the investigation but the trail went cold.
A cold case investigator says he discovered Connie Jo was Darling's financial advisor, even though she'd denied knowing the senior before invoking her Miranda rights.
At the time of the murder, police say the Kubicas were operating a fraudulent company and court records show they were convicted of grand theft in 1994.
Kubica served 16 months in state prison for the California real estate scam that targeted seniors.
An extradition hearing is scheduled for January.