Dead dog leads police to find missing couple

Police said the bodies of a California couple and their dog were found hidden under the brush of a creek bed where a driver had crashed the day before.

During a walk with their dog, Buddy, Matthew Chachere, and Jennifer Besser were struck by a 24-year-old driver who was excessively speeding.

The unidentified driver struck the abutment of the bridge, the curb, and a street sign on Sacramento Drive.

A single-car collision was reported to police in San Luis Obispo, but the driver was released after police did not notice the bodies and determined that he was not intoxicated.

At this time, police haven’t disclosed whether the driver hid the bodies himself.

On the day following the crash, the SLOPD received a report that a dead dog was lying in the creek bed at Sacramento Drive. After unsuccessful attempts to contact the owner, police arranged for the poor animal to be taken to Animal Control.

Later that night, Chachere and Besser’s family filed a missing persons report after they didn’t show up for a holiday gathering in Modesto. A SLOPD dispatcher recognized Buddy as the dead animal that was reported earlier that day based on the pictures that family members submitted.

The police returned to the crash site and searched through the heavily wooded creek bed, finding the bodies of Chachere and Besser “under heavy brush.”

“We believe the car ran into the people,” San Luis Obispo Police Chief Rick Scott told the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

As reported by the Tribune, Chachere, 39, and Besser, 36, worked for E&J Gallo Winery in Modesto. Chachere, who played linebacker for California Polytechnic State University from 2001 to 2005, coached at Davis and Ceres high schools.

At the site where police believe the couple was killed, a memorial now stands with flowers, candles, photos, and a stuffed animal reading, “Jennifer, Matt, Buddy we love you and miss you.”

On Tuesday, family members of Chachere and Besser visited the memorial.

“They were a very supportive family. They were there, his mom and dad, were there for all the games. I can still remember the dad’s face and smile and joy watching his son, great man, you can’t help but feel pain for them,” said Payam Saddat, Chachere’s former coach at Cal Poly.

Currently, police are investigating the crash and have interviewed the 24-year-old driver. Depending on the findings, the driver could face criminal charges.