CANYON — Search and rescue teams with dogs and all-terrain vehicles combed both sides of rugged Pinehurst Road in Contra Costa County on Saturday in a new search for the body of 31-year-old Nina Reiser.

Reiser, the mother of two small children, disappeared in Oakland on Sept. 3. Her husband, computer software entrepreneur Hans Reiser, 42, has been charged with her murder.

It was a follow-up to the search on the Oakland side of the hills conducted in September, said Capt. Rick Kovar, of the Contra Costa County Sheriff's office. He said about 50 volunteers, sheriff's deputies, members of the Contra Costa Search and Rescue team and others took part in the search.

Kovar said the search was conducted at the request of the Oakland Police, who believe her body may be found in the area. The area is less than three miles from Hans Reiser's residence.

Reiser pleaded not guilty last week and asked for a speedy trial. The preliminary hearing in the case is set for Dec. 11 in Alameda County Superior Court. Reiser's attorney said the state's evidence is "somewhat flimsy."

Evidence, court documents show, includes DNA samples drawn from splatters of blood in Hans Reiser's house and car. The documents show forensic tests on the DNA could not rule out Nina Reiser as the source of the blood.

On Pinehurst Road on Saturday, Capt. Kovar said searchers were covering an area on both sides of the road out to about 200 yards. Crime statistics show victims are most often dumped close to a road, he said.


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The search included part of Skyline Drive, then out Pinehurst through the hamlet of Canyon. Throughout the day, searchers carrying probes and teams of dog handlers could be seen along the road, which is usually lightly traveled.

Most of the area is heavily wooded, with towering redwoods blocking out the daylight. San Leandro Creek, which follows the road, is down a steeply sloping bank, a drop of a hundred feet or more at some points.

"We're only searching on the down side of the creek," said dog handler Leah Waarulf of Oakland. "We're trying to be thorough." Waarulf and her fellow volunteer, Scott Carlisle of Benicia, said they were counting on their dog, "Emma."

If there's a body to be found, Emma will find it, they said.

An Education Fund for the Reiser children has been set up and donations can be sent to 6114 LaSalle Ave., No. 127, Oakland, CA, 94611.

There is a $25,000 reward for information leading to the location of Nina Reiser. Contact Oakland homicide Sgt. Bruce Brock at (510) 238-3821 or the police tip line at (510) 637-0298.

Staff Writer Jason Dearon contributed to this report.

Contact William Brand at

bbrand@angnewspapers.com.