Investigation into veterinarian’s death continues

Investigation into veterinarian’s death continues
The murder of Dr. Robert Stonebreaker is still under investigation. Courtesy photo

RANCHO SANTA FE — Nearly two years after the body of a popular veterinarian was found in a driveway at 6792 Paseo Delicias, authorities are still working on unraveling the mystery behind his demise.

San Diego County Crime Stoppers is seeking information relating to the homicide of Dr. Robert Stonebreaker, 53, who owned the Animal & Bird Hospital of Del Mar and also founded Freeflight, a nonprofit organization for rescued birds that includes an exotic bird park the public can visit.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest in the case.

On Jan. 16, 2010, California Highway Patrol officers responded to a report about a vehicle in a ditch when they found an unoccupied 2008 Porsche Carrera in a small ravine.

They didn’t find evidence on the car that led them to believe any occupants could be injured, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, so the vehicle was considered abandoned and towed away.

But the next morning authorities were called out again when a homeowner at Paseo Delicias located a deceased man on the driveway of the homeowner’s house.

The man was identified as Robert Stonebreaker.

His body was more than 100 yards away from where the Porsche had been found.

Lt. Dennis Brugos, who has since retired from the sheriff’s homicide unit, said in previous news reports that the blunt force trauma found to Robert Stonebreaker was inconsistent with a fall.

The county’s medical examiner’s office ruled his death a homicide and not the result of a traffic collision, according to the sheriff’s department.

The case is the most recent of several “cold case” files handled by the sheriff’s department, but Sgt. Dave Martinez said the medical examiner and the sheriff’s departments are still working on it.

“I know that the case agent is now reviewing the case with key parts of the investigation,” he said, and added that included reviewing the case with the medical examiner.

When Martinez was questioned about whether the Dr.’s wife Pamela Stonebreaker was a suspect in the veterinarian’s death, he said, “We can’t rule out anyone at this moment.”

Stonebreaker’s business and Freeflight have continued under the direction of his wife.

Pamela Stonebreaker’s attorneys filed documents in federal court on July 18, 2011, which denied she was involved with her husband’s death.

Those documents give detailed accounts of Pamela’s whereabouts and actions on both the day of her husband’s disappearance/accident and the following day.

Her phone records show that after her husband failed to come home for dinner, phone calls seeking his whereabouts were made that night and the next morning.

The morning that  Stonebreaker’s body was found, Pamela was out of town at a volleyball tournament with her daughter and several others, and had left her home at 5 a.m.

“Later that same day, while I was still at the volleyball tournament, I received a phone call from an investigator for the San Diego Medical Examiner’s Office. The investigator told me that Bob was dead and that the cause of death was a head injury. This telephone call was when I learned for the first time that Bob had died,” part of her written statement said.

In a previous interview with The Coast News, Pamela  said: “Some days I am so teary-eyed and confused because there are no answers or no reasons why … I just cannot believe after 26 years working every day with my husband that I am in this position.”

Nathan Arrington, Pamela’s attorney, said during a telephone interview in early January 2012 that “a neutral guardian has now filed a document indicating there was no evidence Pam was involved.”

On Nov. 23, 2011, Judge Patricia Yim Cowett filed with the court a document that states that as her position of guardian ad litem over the three Stonebreaker children, she does not agree that the children have any right to claim the insurance money because she is unaware of evidence sufficient to justify that; and that she does not oppose Pamela’s motion for the money to be deposited to her.

Arrington requested that the court documents be used to answer any questions, and they show that Pamela  has been trying to collect nearly $3 million in life insurance funds from three separate companies regarding her husband’s death, but has been denied any money despite the motion for the disbursement of funds in a lawsuit against the companies, according to court documents.

According to a section of the law, a beneficiary of a life insurance policy must be ruled out as a suspect because a person who kills the policyholder is not entitled to receive any benefits.

Anyone with any information relating to the homicide may call Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

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  1. The forensic expert and law enforcement consulting firm of Martinelli & Associates, Justice & Forensic Consultants, Inc. and its Death Investigation team have been retained to reinvestigate the 2010 homicide of Encenitas veternarian Dr. Robert Stonebreaker.

    The Death Investigation Team which is comprised of forensic experts and experienced retired homicide investigators is working the case independent of the San Diego Co. Sheriff’s Department.

    Persons wishing to remain anonymous and not be contacted by the Sheriff’s Department can call or email our forensic investigators at: (951) 719-1450 and code3law@martinelliandassoc.com.

  2. Cat Jefferson says:

    I have seen on different sites that Pam, Bob’s wife hasn’t been ruled out as a suspect in Bob’s murder. Yeah, well I knew them both pretty damned well through my being a customer at their animal hospital. Pam loved him with all her heart and had no reason to even THINK about killing him.
    Money was not an issue. They had plenty! It makes me sick to know that the cops can’t find who did kill him!!

  3. kau says:

    It makes us all sick they can’t pin this murder on anyone yet. However, they were having financial issues, couldn’t pay their bills and had marital issues. Good thing she has her insurance money now!

  4. gail says:

    It’s a little odd that she didn’t call the police when her husband didn’t come home all night…..and very odd that she went off out of town to a soccer game when her husband had not come home all night, don’t you think? I knew them both as well and I think this is very fishy.

  5. kau says:

    Didn’t call the police and only rang her husband’s phone once. There are a lot of fishy things and it seems she would come forward to clear her name with the detectives so they can rule her out!

  6. Denise says:

    I work for them. They were not happily married. He wanted a divorce and they hardly got along and rarely showed affection.

    • gail says:

      Denise, did you tell the police this? There must be a lot of info like this from you guys that worked there and that’s why she’s not ruled out. Or partly why. It’s so sad that he’s gone, he was the best vet. I don’t go there anymore after she was real nasty to me.

    • Anonymous says:

      I also worked for them for a long time. I agree with you, Denise. Now that I’ve been gone for a while, I’m connecting dots I was blind to, while in their employ.

  7. gail says:

    Denise, did you tell the police this? There must be a lot of info like this from you guys that worked there and that’s why she’s not ruled out. Or partly why. It’s so sad that he’s gone, he was the best vet. I don’t go there anymore after she was real nasty to me.

  8. kau says:

    Yes, Denise and Gail, please contact the sheriff investigators. Do anything to help this great vet.

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