Woman Missing; Husband's Home Searched
Sep. 14 - KGO (KGO) -- There are new suspicions about what happened to an East Bay woman missing for the past 11 days. Police spent Wednesday searching the upscale home of the woman's estranged husband -- the last place she was spotted alive. And now he's missing too.
It's a high-profile case, and five crime lab technicians conducted a detailed investigation into 31-year-old Nina "Nenasha" Reiser's disappearance. She was last seen on September 3 dropping off her two children at the home where her estranged husband lives with his mother in the Oakland hills.
Police say husband Hans Reiser initially cooperated with their investigation, but he stopped returning their calls -- and now he's gone.
Anthony Zografos, Nina Reiser's friend: "They're in the middle of a divorce, and divorce is never a pleasant situation."
Some neighbors call it contentious, but Anthony Zografos says he doesn't think that Nina Reiser felt threatened by her husband.
Anthony Zografos, Nina Reiser's friend: "I don't know. I don't know what to suspect."
Hans Reiser is a software developer and was considered a child prodigy. At the age of 15 he entered U.C. Berkeley. Later in life, he moved to Russia where he met Nina, a Russian doctor.
Jack Clauson, next-door neighbor: "These are gentle, intelligent, refined people not given to violence at all."
Next-door neighbor Jack Clausen says he's known Hans for 25 years and watched him grow up.
Jack Clauson, next-door neighbor: "I can't imagine he would ever hurt that beautiful woman. I know he loved her much."
But other neighbors say they saw him spraying water off of something in the driveway for half-an-hour shortly after Nina went missing. And they say his beat-up car disappeared shortly after Nina disappeared, and his mother rented a car so Hans could drive hers..
Police brought in cadaver dogs to search the property.
Jack Clauson, next-door neighbor: "They're not the kind of people who resort to violence to solve problems. So I think they're not going to find anything in there."
Police dogs did not find a body, but police are still searching diligently for clues connected to the missing woman, and the whereabouts of her estranged husband.
The children of Hans and Nina Reiser are currently in the custody of Child Protective Services.
Dispute Over Loan, Accusations Of Affair
According to filings in Alameda County Superior Court, a notice of settlement was filed on Hans Reiser's behalf Wednesday to resolve a lawsuit filed against him by Sean Sturgeon on Dec. 30, 2004, seeking $131,552 in damages.
The terms of the settlement weren't disclosed.
Sturgeon claimed that Reiser and his company, Namesys, Inc., which he ran out of his home, failed to pay back a loan.
In a response to the lawsuit that was filed on Feb. 15, 2005, Reiser, acting as his own attorney, said "under no theory of liability is defendant Reiser liable personally for repayment."
Reiser alleged that Sturgeon "had been having a secret affair with defendant's wife, Nina Reiser, at the time of the loan."
Reiser said Sturgeon "continues this illicit affair even during divorce proceedings currently in action" and that Sturgeon "even apparently is, in defiance of a court order, residing with defendant's wife and children."
Reiser also alleged, "It is well known and was well known to plaintiff (Sturgeon) that the majority of the allegedly loaned funds were spent exclusively by Nina Reiser."
Reiser said the fact that Sturgeon didn't name Nina Reiser as a defendant and named him as an individual "is clear evidence of his malicious intent to destroy defendant's marriage and leave the defendant to clean up the wreckage and pay the debts."
In a cross-complaint that Reiser filed against Sturgeon on Sept. 8, 2005, Reiser said Sturgeon acted as his financial agent from 1999 through 2002 and had access to and control over deposits, withdrawals and funds at the Patelco Credit Union.
Reiser said Sturgeon "worked with my wife Nina Reiser and eventually drugged her with ecstasy and seduced her."
Reiser alleged, "He then engaged in Bondage, Domination, Sadism and Masochism techniques and continued to redrug her repeatedly over time."
He said Sturgeon engaged in those techniques "in an effort to show that he was a better man than I and to convince my wife Nina to conspire with him to steal the Namesys Inc. company assets."
Reiser alleged that, "Sean has threatened to have me beaten up by some of his associates in illegal activities and that he would hurt me, my mother or my children if he did not get what he wanted."
He also accused Sturgeon of engaging in extortion by threatening to make calls to the Internal Revenue Service to report him and his mother.
In addition, Reiser alleged that Sturgeon wrote into a contract that Reiser must participate in "Death Yoga," which he said has the purpose of "slowing down one's heart to the point of death."
Sturgeon's attorney, Richard Meier, didn't return a phone call today seeking comment on the case.
Reiser's attorney, Gregory Silva, declined to comment.
In a Sept. 13, 2005, interview with the Web site KernelTrap.org, Reiser said he dropped out of junior high school after eighth grade but was accepted at the University of California, Berkeley at the age of 15.
In the interview, Reiser said, "Berkeley was a lot better than junior high school, but it still involved homework, which deep down in my heart I could never believe in."
According to a Dec. 29, 1999, article in InfoWorld, Reiser's company is called the Naming System Venture but is more commonly known by the abbreviation Namesys.
The company aims at creating a quicker and easier way to search file databases on Linux-based systems, according to the article.
BCN contributed to this report
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